BIOPHILIC BATHROOM DESIGN
Biophilic design is a discipline that aims to improve human health and well-being by promoting connections between people and nature in the built environment.
This concept can inform the interior design of bathroom environments. From the way that the space connects with nature through to the use of carefully selected materials, natural textures, natural light and sensations; to provide a positive impact on the user.
There is evidence that accessing nature can improve focus whilst enabling mental restoration and improving cognitive functions, all imperative for a healthy and thriving work-life balance.
Judith Heerwagen, a psychologist whose research has focused on the relationship between buildings and psychological well-being, told participants:
biophilia evolved to guide functional behaviours associated with finding, using and enjoying natural resources.
I aim to show how our ordinary and functional daily rituals can be seamlessly woven with biophilic resources to create luxurious nature inspired bathrooms, with well-being at the heart of the design.
BIOPHILIC BATHROOM DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Biophilic bathroom design principles can be introduced in varying degrees, from small scale inexpensive additions to the decor to larger structural interventions.
Inclusion of and references to nature in a biophilic bathroom design can be made in a variety of ways such as through the choice of flooring and wall coverings, furniture and furnishings. It can be achieved through the use of natural materials like wood and natural fibres, or materials that emulate nature in the form of printed materials and surfaces on walls and floors.
Whether for a master bathroom or a guest en-suite, the underlying principles of hospitality design can be explored by considering comfort, privacy and warmth to achieve feelings of relaxation, rejuvenation and positivity.
Ultimately the aim of the design interventions is to improve our physiological and psychological health by increasing our connection to nature.
NATURAL THEMES IN HISTORIC STRUCTURES
Bathroom design trends are showing an emphasis towards using natural materials. Nature is permeating bathroom spaces and interior design is increasingly caring about personal wellbeing and craftsmanship, with a focus on reconnecting with the natural world.
In the publication ’14 patterns of biophilic design’ (terrapin bright green), patterns are identified which have a wide range of applications for both interior and exterior environments. They are meant to be flexible and adaptive, allowing for project-appropriate implementation.
The consistency of natural themes in historic structures and places suggests that biophilic design is not a new phenomenon.
Inspiration from nature was in full view in the Art Nouveau designs of the late 19th Century and is still of inspiration to interior designers today.
Like many in the Craftsman movement, Frank Lloyd Wright incorporated flowers and plants into his art glass windows and ornamentation, and used the grain of wood and texture of brick and stone as a decorative element.
Wright also opened up interiors to flow through houses in ways that had not been done before, creating prospect views balanced with intimate refuges. His later designs sometimes include exhilarating spaces, like the balcony cantilevering out over the waterfall at Fallingwater.
BIOPHILIC DESIGN FRAMEWORK
Biophilic design can be organized into three categories – Nature in the Space, Natural Analogues, and Nature of the Space – providing a framework for understanding and enabling thoughtful incorporation of a rich diversity of design strategies into designing a biophilic bathroom.
NATURE IN THE SPACE
‘Nature in the Space’ addresses the direct, physical and ephemeral presence of nature in a space or place.
The strongest ‘Nature in the Space’ experiences are achieved through the creation of meaningful, direct connections with these natural elements, particularly through diversity, movement and multi-sensory interactions.
A variety of stimulus and sensations are evoked in biophilic bathroom design from the sounds, lights and spray patterns in luxury showers to the chromotherapy and aromatherapy solutions found in luxury spa baths.
The category ‘Natural Analogues’ addresses organic, non-living and indirect evocations of nature:
Objects, materials, colours, shapes, sequences and patterns found in nature, manifest as artwork, ornamentation, furniture, décor, and textiles in a biophilic bathroom design.
‘Natural Analogues’ encompasses three patterns of biophilic design:
- Biomorphic Forms & Patterns – Symbolic references to contoured, patterned, textured or numerical arrangements that persist in nature.
- Material Connection with Nature – Materials and elements from nature that, through minimal processing, reflect the local ecology or geology and create a distinct sense of place.
- Complexity & Order – Rich sensory information that adheres to a spatial hierarchy similar to those encountered in nature.
There is rarely a solution that is universal. Rather, the ‘correct’ solution, in our view, is one that is locally appropriate and responsive to the situation at hand.- Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Kaplan & Robert L. Ryan, 1998 WITH PEOPLE IN MIND
NATURAL ORGANIC LUXURY
Exto’s biophilic bathroom designs are inspired by a desire to create something that oozes with natural organic luxury.
This is an opportunity to elevate the ordinary chaos of daily ritual into a peaceful luxurious opportunity for contemplation. It goes beyond incorporating a few well-placed potted plants into the design; it involves contrast and balance.
Blurring the boundaries and integrating the concepts of luxury and biophilia may sound like a contradiction in terms.
However, the crafting of a biophilic bathroom using noble and honest materials such as polished stone, natural marble and warm woods work beautifully together hand in hand, creating bathrooms that surprise and beckon. Ultimately, a biophilic bathroom humanises cutting-edge design through the use of luxurious – feeling materials.
Bathrooms are the optimum candidates for a living plant wall.
A living plant wall is a vertical garden: hydrophonic plants are fitted onto a structure which itself is fitted to a load bearing wall, internal or external.
The plants are watered and fed nutrients via an internal, closed-loop circuit fitted with a pump.
It surprisingly requires little light & maintenance and will last for many years, if the the living plant wall has been installed professionally.
In addition to being a striking design feature, a living wall adds a sense of tranquil serenity to a bathroom by bringing the outside in. It also contributes to the bathroom air recycling cycle, supplying fresh oxygen naturally to the atmosphere.
And for clients who enjoy taking a shower surrounded by nature, a living wall is the perfect companion!
Spatial layout includes the placement of furnishings and the need to consider the users visual access. Taking advantage of desired views out to nature and existing natural light in the space is important when designing a biophilic bathroom.
Visual connections to even small instances of nature can be restorative and help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms.
URBAN SPACES: BRINGING THE OUTDOORS IN
Biophilic design is being championed as a strategy for reducing stress, improving cognitive function and creativity and improving well-being. As the world population continues to urbanise, these qualities are ever more important. Design that reconnects us with nature can only be a good investment (14 patterns of biophilic design)
City living can leave us experiencing an increasing separation of natural settings and the urban spaces we reside in. Focusing on bringing some of the outdoors in can help elevate a bathroom space.
Choose materials that are inspired by the fragrances and colours of nature. Embrace knots of wood and all its captivating imperfections and celebrate the raw organic appeal of stone. Using woods to symbolise uncontaminated unspoilt nature, in contrast to the city can help to recreate the magic of natural settings within biophilic bathroom spaces.
Neutral and organic shades and earthy tones can be elegantly combined with tactile materials, textures, shapes, patterns and finishes. All of which help emphasise different surfaces and lend them a unique and inimitable appearance.
Even simple additions of introducing some potted plants into the bathroom has a positive effect on our connection with nature. The fertile attributes signal one to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate. The more tense and stressful our lives become the more we crave the natural world.
WELLNESS & BIOPHILIC BATHROOM DESIGN
Biophilic bathroom design weaves seamlessly with our clients’ requests for creating a spa-like bathroom sanctuary.
Bespoke saunas and hammams, customised spa baths with whirlpool systems and showers complete with steam modules, spray patterns, sound and light for unique sensations are increasingly being specified for biophilic bathroom design schemes. These products serve to reinvigorate the senses.
There is evidence that exposure to nature is even more beneficial when a combination of senses are stimulated at the same time. This multiple-sensory stimulation experienced through luxury showers, baths, saunas and hammams provides for that essential feeling of wellbeing found in a calm and restorative biophilic bathroom interior.
The health and wellness benefits of saunas, Turkish baths and hammams have been well documented.
Reconnecting with the natural world through architecture and interior design means being attentive to views and light.
Consider internal layouts that are designed to enhance daylight and light / shade variability. Strip windows along the south elevation and large high-level windows all help to capture light throughout the day. Other considerations are large skylight and roof light features. Interconnecting ‘outside in’ glass partitions / walls and bi-fold doors to link the bathing and relaxation areas.
Each detail and careful selection of natural products will ensure an essential balance to the increasing tempo of our clients’ work-life; ultimately creating a bathroom space as a source of wellbeing for them to unwind and relax in.
SUSTAINABILITY & BIOPHILIC BATHROOM DESIGN
Wellbeing is being embraced increasingly by champions of sustainability, extending the good-for-the-environment objective to good-for-people too.
Many of the design features that enhance health and wellbeing…also bring positive environmental benefits and resource efficiencies. – Ashley Bateson – sustainable futures group member
There are many luxury shower options available complete with water-flow consumption for efficient and sustainable water use.
Many tap companies too offer last generation cartridges which controls and limits the amount of water being used without impacting on the usability experience.
With the right advice and product selection, luxury can work hand-in-hand with sustainability to create a biophilic bathroom design.
WARM EARTHY WOOD
Cedar, oak and teak wood are beautiful materials to incorporate into a biophilic bathroom design for cabinetry, vanity units, baths, surfaces and other decorative elements such as partitions or elegant panelling.
As timbers of choice for traditional boat building they are prized for their resilience and have a number of qualities which make them desirable to use around water – naturally producing chemicals which help protect against deterioration and contamination. Teak has a high oil content and is naturally water-repellent and rot-resistant.
The thoughtful pairing of wood and stone to create an overall tailored and cohesive look is a design trend celebrated at Salone del Mobile 2018, that is gaining momentum. A beautiful and delicate balance of materials that can beautifully incorporated into a biophilic bathroom design.
THE ORGANIC BEAUTY OF MARBLE & NATURAL STONE
The raw organic beauty of marble, polished stone and natural limestone are other organic yet discerning materials to incorporate into a biophilic bathroom design.
Natural stone, extracted directly from the outdoors, allows for a landscape design to easily emulate nature, often creating the most serene space.
Using marble in a bathroom is decadently beautiful and the level of intensity of the veining can be carefully chosen to fit the architecture and style in resides in.
From creating timeless elegance using a Carrara marble to radiating pure energy with a Calacata Gold or Arabescato Corchia; marble can be used for surfaces, basins and baths to customise any bathroom design. Bookmatching is a beautiful effect that creates appealing symmetry on walls.
Covering surfaces with marble has a magical ability to make a bathroom feel like it has been coated with luxury. Pure visual delight!
Adding soft touches of brushed and aged metals such as rose gold, silver, copper, platinum and nickel for brassware, cabinet frames, mirror frames, furniture fittings, accessories and other bespoke elements of a design is biophilic bathroom luxury!
Natural metallic touches can brighten up the shadiest space.
From wood parquet flooring to marble clad walls there are a number of surface solution options that can explored.
Decorative wallcoverings for bathrooms and shower rooms not only offer high visual appeal for their biophilic inspired designs (forbidden gardens, flora and fauna) but offer technical value in their innovative waterproof systems.
Many of our clients have multiple residences. Retaining some cultural identity in each of their properties involves thorough understanding and experience of working internationally along with a thoughtful design approach.
A biophilic bathroom design that reflects in some way the geography of its location, from the surrounding landscape to the often outstanding views can hugely influence the design. Incorporating an extension of the landscape into the design can offer moments of visibility and outlook with places of privacy and inlook.
Exto assists interior designers, architects & developers to create luxury bathrooms for exclusive residential properties and boutique hotel projects.
We design and supply fully bespoke and personalised bathroom solutions.
Our areas of expertise are luxury residential properties and chalets. We also specialise in the supply of high-end bathrooms for exclusive residential developments, yachts and boutique hotels.
We deliver projects on national and international appointments.
WE DELIVER COMPLETE TAILOR-MADE SOLUTIONS
The team at Exto are here to answer any questions you may have with regards to luxury bathroom projects and of course to designing luxury biophilic bathrooms. We are passionate about what we do and will work with you to realise your vision.
We offer project management services, a full design service to include CAD and virtual images and technical planning advice. We source and supply the most prestigious bathroom brands from around the world as well as the provision of complete bespoke solutions based on your individual requirements, on a project-by project basis. We provide a discreet and reliable design and international logistics service.
We welcome feedback!