Comparing biophilic design to biomimicry.

When studying in the world of design, it is easy to mistake the terms biophilia and biomimicry as interchangeable. While both are founded upon a deep appreciation and growing understanding of nature, there are key differences between biophilic design/biophilia and biomimicry.


What is Biomimicry?

According to the Biomimicry Institute, biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies evolved from organisms in the natural world. Biomimicry models natural forms, patterns, and processes to solve technological challenges. Essentially, biomimicry uses a method of innovation that replicates how nature problem solves and uses that knowledge to create sustainable solutions as a means to solve human design problems. An example of biomimicry is replicating the bumps at the front edge of a whale fin on wind turbine blades. These bumps increase a whale’s efficiency and when mimicked on turbine blades they increase efficiency and reduce the drag coefficient of wind turbine blades.


What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilia, on the other hand, focuses more on our human connection to nature, highlighting our innate ability to heal when connected and surrounded by nature. Biophilic Design utilizes this connection as a design element by integrating natural materials, shapes, and plants that stimulate our senses and strengthens our connection to nature.  Biophilic Design works with our senses by stimulating our sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. The living plant walls at Plant Solutions are an example of utilizing the connection between humans and nature, and incorporating it into interior design.


What is the difference between Biophilic Design and Biomimicry?

While both are “bio’s” there is a clear difference between the two. Think of Biomimicry as using the recipes of nature to create more sustainable human design of forms, processes, materials, and products. Think of biophilic design as using strategies to enhance our human connection to the natural world thereby creating human health and wellness.

Biophilic design and biomimicry are not interchangeable but understanding the difference between the two is vital when working in the world of design.