An Introduction to the 14 Patterns

We know that Biophilia is inherent within us. By 2050 66% of the developed world will be urbanized. We spend an estimated 11 hours a day on technology and up to 93% of our time indoors. Now, more than ever, harnessing this knowledge practically in the design of our urban living and working environments is vital to our health and well-being.

In Terrapin Bright Green’s ‘14 Patterns of Biophilic Design’ paper, we learn that the patterns are tools to recognize and articulate the individual elements of what constitutes biophilic design. They use science and psychology to help us define it, so that we can understand how to apply each point when considering human needs within design. Not every space can be designed to incorporate all the principles, but a few contributory Biophilic Design elements will collectively enhance the well-being of an interior.

The 14 patterns are grouped into three categories—Nature in the Space, Natural Analogues and Nature of the Space.

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Nature in the Space

Direct sensorial contact with nature in a space doesn’t simply mean proximity to a pot plant or two. Interaction with the natural world can be tangible from the presence of a stimulating view of nature; or by using plants, water features, natural air-flow or breezes, sounds and scents. Design using this group of patterns will create meaningful, direct connections with natural elements through diversity, movement and multisensory interactions.

Natural Analogues

With Natural Analogue patterns, we use elements with an indirect connection to nature that create a cue to the brain that sparks the same sense of well-being as the natural world. By mimicking the finer details of nature with textiles, artwork, light, shapes or patterns you can re-create the biophilic human connection, and therefore the healthy responses, to the great outdoors.

Nature of the Space

The Nature of the Space patterns define how we relate to the building, room or space around us on a deeply human level. We have an innate desire to want to see beyond our immediate surroundings and can be fascinated with the slightly dangerous or unknown. Obscured views, design revelations, installations and moments of mystery or peril excite us and maintain our interest and enthusiasm. Combining these elements with patterns from the other two groups provides maximum impact in biophilic design.


Learning from nature to create modern design solutions is called biomimicry. At Interface, we take inspiration from nature’s genius to create more sustainable products, processes and systems. An example of this concept is i2®, our innovative approach to flooring design, or Tactiles®, which revolutionized the way modular flooring is installed in projects.
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