Integrative Design

How Biophilic Design and Feng Shui interior design work together for our happiness at home.

Feng Shui and Biophilic Design are two sides of addressing the same irrefutable concept, our connection to nature. Both disciplines highlight the fact that we are nature, and we thrive in environments that reflect and encompass our connection to the outdoors.

Stacey Lapuk, ASID

Feng Shui, the Chinese art of placement in relation to the flow of energy, has been with us for thousands of years and consists of four underlying principles:

1. Everything is energy. 2. Your home mirrors your life. 3. Nature is your model. 4. Intention is key.

Biophilic design reflects the science that is supporting these principles. The knowledge that when specific patterns and systems found in nature through certain energies and resonances, are incorporated into the built environment – your home – you are happier and healthier. You can live with more ease, be more productive and more creative with biophilic design.

Biophelia is defined as an innate and genetically-determined human affinity for the natural world. What this means as far as your home goes, as Claudio Silverstrin, architect, states: “The ability to see stars and trees may stop being seen as decoration or romanticism, but as essentials, like sinks and windows”.

Feng Shui practitioners have known this intuitively. They break nature into the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood as making up everything in the universe. Biophilic design is made up of 3 distinct categories consisting of 15 specific patterns and systems, addressing all of Feng Shui’s five elements.

The first of these Biophilic categories is “Nature In The Space”, which are actual, natural elements that are found in an environment. The second is called “Natural Analogues”, which are non-living and indirect evocations of nature, and the third category is “Nature Of The Space”, which speaks to the processes and experiences of nature.

Though intention is a critical component of both disciplines, it has broader possibilities in Feng Shui interior design. For example, water in Feng Shui may represent stillness and contemplation, whether in an image, a shape representing water, or the actual material. In biophilia it is considered a “pattern”, one in the category of Nature In The Space which provides a way to feel nature in your home with its actual presence, in a fountain or a pond, for example. An image of water in biophilic design would represent a natural analogue, as its experience is different from that of actual water, regardless of intention.

Variety is important to both as well. Feng Shui interior design might address the yin and yang of elements that balance one another, such as soft and hard, smooth and textured. Biophilic design speaks of experiences: mystery, risk and awe, for example, to create emotional variety, as well as the proper balances of such elements as varied texture in fabrics and building or furniture materials. The use of light and shadow, sporadic bird song and natural air flow are additional ways in which attention to biophilic design patterns help us live our best lives.

The importance of recognizing our connection to nature is central to both Feng Shui and Biophilic Design. For 99% of our evolutionary history, our biological development is a result of our responses to the natural environment. As we’ve become detached from nature, we’re recognizing the detrimental effects of closing ourselves off from our natural environments. Instead of nature, we’re in buildings, on concrete sidewalks, and spending most of our time indoors.

Neuroscientists have documented the effects of different types of scenery on our brains. Complex views with dynamic, natural scenes create a pleasurable experience. Treeless streets and walls of buildings prevent us from that experience.

With proper design however, we can help mitigate these effects. We can literally design our homes to enhance our health, well-being and happiness by integrating Biophilic Design and Feng Shui.

If you’d like to learn more about using Biophilic Design and Feng Shui to create happiness at home, please don’t hesitate to contact me today.

Stacey Lapuk, ASID

Stacey Lapuk, ASID is celebrating her 30th year with her firm. Named “One of America’s Ten Designers To Watch” by Design Times Magazine, one of the “Top 100 Interior Designer in North America” by Blink Art Resources, and the winner of multiple national design awards.  Her goal is simple: To co-create with her clients the home of their dreams with responsive and comprehensive solutions, and timeless, beautiful results. 

Her full service firm attracts clients desiring the finest workmanship, materials and custom design. Facets of work include partnering with architects on new construction, remodels, kitchen design and bath design, color consultation, custom furniture, flooring, area carpets, wall and window treatments, lighting design, art procurement and antique acquisition.  Service areas include but are not limited to Marin County, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Ross, Kentfield, Belvedere, Tiburon, San Rafael, and Pacific Heights.