Illustration by Inés Antuñano.
Have you ever wondered why we love spending time with our pets, why we like to look at the sea and listen to the waves, or why it’s so pleasant to be in a garden? Biophilia is the answer to all of these questions, which broadly speaking, is the attraction we feel towards being in contact with nature because of the connection we have with it, according to biologist Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University.
Since relatively recent times we have sought to incorporate biophilic design in different aspects and environments of our daily lives because, while it is true that cities keep growing and our planet continues to be consumed in a way that is becoming increasingly complex and expensive to be in contact with nature, the consumption of fresh and organic ingredients has become exclusive. Today, access to nature reserves, for example, is not only limited and restricted but also a profitable business. This is just one of many factors that have led us to exploit creativity and innovation through design that emulates nature’s forms, materials and environments in man-made spaces.
More than 40 studies around the world have proven the positive effects that biophilic design has on our health and well-being: there is less absenteeism, less stress and greater comfort for employees working in biophilic designed spaces. This translates into greater productivity and profits for the organizations that implement it.
At The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, the well-being of patients with rooms that have a view of nature has improved and their stays have been reduced.
How to apply biophilic design in restaurants?
As good strategists, it is also part of our mission that our customers feel well-being, comfort and happiness when entering our restaurants, and the biophilic design of spaces and environments is one tool to achieve this.
Most urban spaces can make us feel enclosed. Let’s not forget that through architecture we can create different spaces and go beyond placing a few plants in the corner. Let’s think: what does our diner see when he enters the space? what does he smell like? what colors is he? what is his lighting like? what are his textures like? etcetera. And now let’s think how we can combine these factors and generate a pleasant atmosphere to enjoy something delicious.
In Tokyo, Japan, the Nikunotoriko restaurant designed by the architectural studio Ryoji Iedokoro has a dining room immersed in a cavern with a very natural atmosphere and gloomy lighting. Its glass floor simulates water and has a stone effect on its walls and ceiling. The result is incredible but the concept doesn’t end there: on the top floor, a space takes us to a forest with different levels, textures and materials that turn the experience into something worth remembering. The studio’s challenge was to design a yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant like many others in Japan, but the result is beyond that: a memorable experience that transforms taste through space.
In Mexico we have some examples of the principles of biophilic design applied. One example is what chef Enrique Olvera is doing, that continues to take Mexican cuisine to higher levels. Since Pujol’s last redesign, he has reinforced the ambience with small vegetable gardens from which he obtains some of his ingredients, a stone oven to give that village touch, a rock garden that emulates a Mexican patio, and open, illuminated spaces that provide the place with more casualness and peace.
Do we want to take our designs to the next level? Let’s take advantage of cultures as rich as the Mexican one, let’s do it in a conscious way and let’s be inspired by the different climates, woods, stones and colors that compose it to create better experiences, from a country kitchen to a seafood on the beach. The possibilities and natural delights of this delicious country are endless.
*Our specialty is the Food & Beverage (F&B) industry.