Nature has been a part of the human living experience since humanity began decorating their homes. Throughout history we have seen the ways in which nature has been worked into the living space. From the extreme of Emperor Nero of Rome bringing live animals and machines designed to replicate the revolving nature of the heavens into his palace, to the more subtle uses of the natural world exemplified in Shaker designs. Nature has remained a constant design inspiration.

However, it can feel as though our connection to the natural world has begun to dissipate in recent years. We see it in the consistent urbanisation across the world, as well as in the general swing in interior design towards futuristic, unnatural elements that has been occurring since the 1950s.

It’s time to change that.

Biophilic design (meaning a love of nature) is a rising trend in the world of interiors that sets out to reconcile and reflect our innate love of nature. When incorporating nature into the design of any part of your home, you bring a sense of serenity and calm with it. Biophilic design turns your home into a restorative space, where you are free to destress, giving you a much needed respite from the stressful urban sprawls of our familiar world.

NATURE AND KITCHEN DESIGN
Nature, for years, has been an inspiration not only for design but also art, music, fashion and literature. It is clear that our natural world has an art to it that should be looked at and treated with the utmost respect. There is an art to nature far deeper than any of the manmade styles, yet perfectly at home among them.

When it comes to kitchen and furniture design, your design should reflect who you are, your story. Much like art, nature is subjective and the natural elements that evoke an emotion will differ for each individual. Some may feel moved by the flow and curves of a woodland stream, others may feel more connected to vast expanses of desert.

When creating a design with strong natural inspiration, we believe in going beyond natural materials to unravel what it is about a particular form of nature that moves you. By finding the essence of the natural form that you connect most strongly with, we are able to create a design that captures the feeling through an abstract interpretation.

NATURAL MATERIALS
Materials such as wood and stone provide clear design inspiration and are perhaps the most frequently used natural elements in the kitchen. From wooden tables to stone countertops, it’s almost impossible to escape the influence of these materials. Simply furnishing your kitchen with traditional wood and stone design features is not enough to satisfy those looking to develop a truly unique space with nature. Instead, we believe in embracing the diversity of natural materials to create an individual design inspired by your interpretation of nature.

Stone is perhaps one of the most exciting natural materials because of its many different forms and the choice of stone can dramatically change the overall feeling of the design. If you are drawn to the fluidity and movement in nature, you may select a stone such as the one below featuring strong swirls and waves.

If you are drawn to the rugged, tactile aesthetic within some natural forms, you may opt for the below stone featuring bold colouring and an erratic ‘cracked’ appearance.

ORGANIC FORMS
Drawing on nature to influence the layout and form of your design is one of the truest ways to incorporate nature into your design.

From wooden bookshelves that appear to cut through a mezzanine floor like trees…


…to a cocoon inspired kitchen island featuring 3D waves in a silky finish; the creative possibilities are endless.

Although perhaps not an obvious choice, bespoke metal finishes lend themselves to designs inspired by nature because of the flexibility to mould the material into any shape and finish, whether it be organic curves or a shagreen texture. For a more pronounced nod to nature, natural elements can be embossed or stencilled into liquid metal to create a beautiful natural work of art, such as this design featuring willow branches in a pewter metal.

WATER

Water, in its many forms, is often a source of design inspiration. Drawing influence from its character and free-flowing nature, curved island designs, flowing workspaces and beautiful, cascading storage options all conjure up notions of the innate beauty of water.

As a natural material, individual veneers are another way to incorporate nature into your design. With thousands of hand-selected veneers available, veneers offer tremendous flexibility ranging from beautiful rich natural woods, to unique and abstract patterns in bold colours. In a recent home office design for a National Champion Kite Surfer, we hoped to capture the feeling of being on the water through the use of design details. We deployed carefully selected materials, such as this veneer with a resemblance to crashing waves.

LIGHTING
Lighting is the aspect of nature most easily harnessed by the design of your kitchen. Choose to install wide windows and skylights to make the most of the source of all nature: the sun. Brightening up the room with as much natural light as possible is a sure fire way to achieve the kind of calming, inspiring kitchen that biophilic design has always set out to embrace. Positioning windows to overlook the hob where you spend a lot of time can enhance your connection with the outdoors whilst you cook.

However, when the sun goes down, you still need your kitchen to feel like the warming, natural place you designed it to be. For this, soft lighting may be the key to retaining the feeling of comforting tranquility that biophilic design encourages. When combined with other natural elements such as wood and stone, soft lighting goes a long way to providing your kitchen with a truly welcoming aura, exemplifying the very best aspects of interior design inspired by nature.

PLANTS
Finally, once you have created a kitchen greatly inspired by the world around you, with fixtures and furnishings reflecting the very essence of nature, carry this through to the decorations. For a truly natural kitchen, the go-to decorative choice is obvious – plants and trees. Not only can plants add a very welcome natural touch to your kitchen, but they also act as organic air purifiers. While potted plants have been a staple in kitchens for years thanks to the simple natural touch they lend to the room, many people are looking for more inspiring plants to bring nature into their kitchen.

Although pots of bamboo or orchids can act as a fantastic addition to your kitchen, lending a touch of natural class to the room, we’re all about extreme, standout design. For a truly unique glimpse of nature in the kitchen, consider decorating with a variety of terraria filled with exotic plants of your choice. If you really want to inject a beautiful, calming tone into your kitchen then you must consider a bonsai tree. Bonsai trees are miniaturised versions of just about any tree you can think of, and would make for a truly outstanding kitchen centrepiece that, with a little care and attention, will provide years of unbeatable natural beauty.

If you are looking for a kitchen that will reflect your unique aspirations and individuality then contact the Extreme Design team for a bespoke and collaborative kitchen design service.