Terms of the Trade: What is Biophilia?

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In a general sense, biophilia refers to appreciation for the natural world of life. The word was coined by biologist Edward O. Wilson in 1984, who maintained that humans, and perhaps all creatures, have an innate fondness for and curiosity about other living things.

In design, biophilia refers to aesthetic and structural elements informed by natural systems. From wallpaper with jungle scenes, chairs curved like the petals of a flower, to carpets textured like moss, grass, or the mane of a fuzzy beast, home design is replete with opportunities to celebrate the natural world.

You might see this word pop up with greater frequency in the years ahead, as the historically unprecedented population of humans continues to put pressure on the wild, and the climate crisis intensifies. Perhaps not by coincidence, home design that celebrates nature, plants, and animals is more on trend than ever.