According to Pinterest Predicts “Biophilic design bedroom” searches have gone up by 100%. This trend is obviously connected to our growing concerns and care for the environment, but the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic resulting in so many of us feeling trapped in our own homes has also added to our increased desire to be closer to nature. If we can’t go outside to enjoy nature the greenery needs to move in with us. Being surrounded by green plants reduces stress, lifts the spirit and has a healing effect on the body.
Putting some thought into the artwork
I have been working on design collections lately that are inspired by stone age fertility goddesses and lush green prehistoric forests. I’m really digging deep into my subconscious ancestral heritage here. This is what thrills me as a designer, adding that extra layer of meaning to my designs. This body of work doesn’t offer an answer as much as it’s asking questions – who is the green goddess to us in this age? Can we cultivate a more personal relationship to nature that is not contrived? Have we strayed so far that our mother, Gaia, has decided to disown us? Is this green trend in fact something much more serious than just hanging some succulents on the wall?
The wisdom of speaking to plants
Some people still believe that a tree is just a tree, practically an inanimate object, separate and unfeeling. The way our world has been governed has been based on the philosophy that we own this planet and that it is here for us, not that we are living in symbiosis with the natural world around us and should treat it as if it was our own body. This anthropocentric utilitarian worldview is the root cause of our destructive behaviour and if we want to save ourselves we need to stop acting like spoilt children and treat our mother Earth with the respect she deserves.
Now science is showing us that nature is much more alive than we thought, that trees are living in communities that help and support each other. We are finding that plants are much more aware of their surroundings than we could ever have imagined and that the balance of eco systems is a very delicate one that is best managed by nature herself because we are not as clever as we thought we were.
There is so much hope though, if we just listen to what science is telling us, what our own bodies are telling us. If we slow down, relax, focus on what’s important and let the wisdom of nature work her magic on us. We can turn this around, I’m sure of it.
How design can be a force for good
So where does this leave us as makers of consumer goods? Fashion and design is not just driven by consumer needs and wants, it has a feedback effect that influences society by its presence. It’s a win, win situation. Change isn’t going to happen over night, but it needs to happen soon. The more we as artists, designers and makers focus on optimism and positive change the more we are helping to turn the tide towards a more sustainable way of life.
Inviting the green goddess to my home
I for one would love to turn my little bedroom into a green sanctuary draped in lush vegetation (“Alexa, play forest bird song.”). But my bedroom is north facing, there’s a tall chest of drawers in front of the window and I have vey little spare space in which to put house plants… So maybe just adding some plant-wall wallpaper, leafy green bedding and throw pillows could tap into that biophilic mood?
Whatever your market is, the biophilia trend is very likely to stay for a long time and definitely worth investing in, with or without goddesses.
Further reading: Thus Spoke The Plant – A Remarkable Journey of Groundbreaking Scientific Discoveries and Personal Encounters with Plants by Monica Gagliano
Our Symbiotic Relationship With Plants and Trees by Pam Montgomery
The Secret Teachings of Plants – The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature
by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Finding the Mother Tree – Uncovering the Wisdom and Intelligence of the Forest by Suzanne Simard
The secret life of plants: how they memorise, communicate, problem solve and socialise – Amy Fleming, The Guardian
Biophilia – My very green Pinterest board 🙂