The Father of Biodiversity on Biophilic Architecture

10 Feb | Biophilic Design

Edward O. Wilson was an American biologist, naturalist and writer whose work brought biodiversity to the mainstream. Throughout his long career, he became an expert on insects and devoted time to studying how elements of the natural world influenced animal behavior. Wilson recently passed away in December 2021, and we at Plant Solutions honor his work each and every day.

“Wilson’s work is at the heart of everything we do and I cannot explain the impact that he has had on my life,” says Plant Solutions Owner and Biophilic Designer Joe Zazzera.

In his 1984 book “Biophilia,” Wilson turned his research to humans when he introduced the hypothesis that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.

The initial thought on the human-nature connection was more anecdotal than based in scientific fact, but other studies conducted in the nearly four decades since the book’s release have given a greater scientific insight into how biophilic design is beneficial, particularly in the workplace.

The 2009 research paper “Biophilia, health, and well-being” from research psychologist Judith Heerwagen showed that exposure to nature was as equally effective as physical exercise in regulating diurnal body rhythms to ensure physical vitality. Additional studies have shown that the presence of green spaces promotes social cohesion and group-based activities, which maintains social relationships, helps foster a sense of community and increases individual well-being.

A 2014 study published by the University of Technology, Sydney provided more proof for Wilson’s original hypothesis, showing that offices that used plants throughout the space had better air quality and workers experienced a decrease in illness and a reduction in workplace stress. These advantages led to an increase in productivity, performance, and creativity, and created a trustworthy and welcoming perception of the company.

In recent years, the concept of biophilia and the inclusion of indoor plants has become more prevalent in office design, a concept Wilson commented on in a 2008 interview for PBS NOVA:

A lot of architects are saying this is the next big thing…Maybe we’ve had enough around the world of Le Corbusier and buildings and monuments to ourselves… These are things in which we’re celebrating our strength, our power, our conquest of the world, right? How great we are! But maybe what we really need down deep is to get closer to where we came from.”

Everyone from small businesses to national brands like Google and Amazon are starting to see the importance of bringing the outside in when it comes to boosting emotional, physical and social wellness in the workplace.

“E.O. Wilson’s trailblazing concept of Biophilic design allows companies an opportunity to incorporate sustainability into the existing environment,” said Zazzera. “Through indoor landscaping options from Plant Solutions, such as plant walls and MossWallArt™, companies can employ artistic designs and soothing colors that play off the existing space and compliment the architecture of the building while remaining eco-friendly.”

The horticulturist experts at Plant Solutions have helped hundreds of businesses and offices throughout Arizona bring indoor landscaping to their spaces, including the Galleria Corporate Center, Renaissance Square, Renaissance Hotel, Kaleidoscope Juice and The Biomimicry Center at ASU. We have worked for more than 40 years to foster the connection between nature and humans through the creation of MossWallArt™, living walls and more. We are committed to bringing quality work into every job while promoting creativity and well-being. Learn more about our unique take on wellness and indoor landscaping at

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