Design Notes Archive



Even if you haven’t heard the term biophilia yet, you’ve likely already felt its influence. The theory - that humans crave and thrive from interaction with nature - has become increasingly prominent in design thanks to a rise in environmental awareness (think Greta Thunberg’s selection as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year) and the steadfast popularity of wellness. Stores, hotels, office buildings and residential design are incorporating plants and green spaces more than ever before. 

London’s “first biophilic hotel suites” opened this past October in the trendy Leman Locke hotel in Aldgate. And The Wardian, a biophilic residential building in Canary Wharf, is slated to open this summer. Named after the portable terrarium designed by 19th century botanist, Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, it will incorporate massive green spaces in the lobby as well as providing every apartment with terrace gardens. The World of Interiors even embraced a plant-centric cover for their first issue of 2020, featuring a palm-filled Parisian conservatory.  

At home, potted plants and botanical prints reign supreme but there are other ways to bring the outdoors in. It may seem counterintuitive to partially block a bathroom window, but A-list designers, from Veere Grenney (top left) to Steven Gambrel (top right) are doing just that. Rather than standing at the sink with your back to the view, floating a mirror in front of the window lets you shift your gaze outward while also facing the most flattering light source. In small spaces like this powder room (centre), mounting a pair of accordion mirrors on either side maximizes both the view and the light. If you don’t want the neighbours watching you brush your teeth, follow Gambrel’s lead and install sheer blinds for privacy. Then turn on biophilia’s other essential element - water. 

Photographs © Simon Upton, Unknown, Eric Piasecki