Biophilic Design

In my previous post I mentioned biophilic design and that I would go into further detail about it. Here’s a definition from


Biophilic Design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn. We need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. The recent trend in green architecture has decreased the environmental impact of the built environment, but it has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world, the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development. (1)

which is making some quite strong claims that I’m not certain are fully backed up by evidence and some say that any health claims are overstated. The Skeptical Specifier goes into more detail in their blog here (2). 


So what do I think biophilic design is? In essence I think the term distinction without difference applies. Biophilic design is just good design with a slant to ethical practices and environmental considerations. Designing working and leisure environments which people are comfortable and productive in would be the aim of any good designer even if they didn’t use the biophilic title. When it comes to myself I wouldn’t give myself that distinction but I do enjoy nature, have ethical concerns over the environment and our impact on it so, while we have this brief we may as will stick a tree in the corner…


Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 13.47.29 (3)




  1. Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life. (2017). Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life. Retrieved 4 April 2017, from
  2. Is Biophilia Really an Added Value in Architecture?. (2017). The Skeptical Specifier. Retrieved 4 April 2017, from
  3. Oliver Heath Design,. (2017). Image of an office with plants.

The Pelican Brief (aka Orangebox brief revisited)

In more depth then and ignoring the title (which is probably best) the Orangebox brief requires us to:

  • Form a collective (possibly compete with the Borg)
  • Decide on a company ethos, identity and key values
  • Bring biophilic principles to bear on redesigning a work or leisure environment

So first to the collective: The members of the team are 7of9, Natalie, Jade, Viola, Gemma and of course myself. Together we make up the commercial giant that is Pentagon Design. The skills we bring to the group are photography, video, fashion, design, illustration and of course architecture and interior design. Ok, maybe not the last two but how hard can it be, right?

Together we work in a fairly loose, collaborative way with no clear leader and this does of course have the danger of freeloaders. Fortunately through drawing up tasks and putting our names together we are taking responsibilities and can see who is doing what and this method is working well for us. While there is no leader per se, when needed Natalie takes point and does an exemplary job of it. More specific key values and identity will come across on the website.

So biophilia, what’s that all about? Happily it doesn’t refer to Gwyneth Paltrow and her jade eggs. There will be a separate post going into more depth about what biophilic design is but in short it is all about healthy, eco friendly environments.

Lastly, as Orangebox works with Novaglaze, there is a need to consider the use of glass and items laminated therein, in the design that we come up with.