4 Ways Architecture and Design Look to Nature

The restorative powers of green spaces shouldn’t be underestimated – here’s how the best projects around the world are welcoming the natural world and boosting well-being in the process.


The earth-toned living room of Banda’s Penthouse 09

Architecture and design no longer leave nature in the open air. Instead, it is welcomed into our homes with elements like living walls, natural light, and organic materials, colors, and textures. “There are huge psychological and physical benefits linked to healthier and greener homes,” says Edo Mapelli Mozzi, founder of London-based property and design firm Banda.

“There are numerous studies that prove that access to nature and even its view can do wonders for our well-being and our mental health,” confirms Samuel Pye, creative director of the London-based architectural design and development studio Echlin. It lists benefits including “reduced anxiety, improved sleep, cleaner air, and help with depression.”

Inspired to prioritize your well-being through your home’s connection to nature? Here we describe four projects that do just that.

1. Adopt a harmonious approach: August Moon by SPAN Architecture

Located on Maine’s rugged West Bay coast, August Moon, immersed in nature, was once the summer retreat of New York socialite Brooke Astor. Today it’s a place of decompression for a young family, all facets of the property, including the original tearoom and cottage designed by Robert Patterson in the 1960s, have been recently restored and upgraded. up to date.

“The symbiotic relationship between nature and the built environment – biophilia – is at the very heart of August Moon’s design,” says Karen Stonely, co-founder of SPAN Architecture. “Appreciating the environment and allowing its magic to flow through the spaces of the home was central to what we wanted to achieve. Ensuring a sense of calm and the ability to appreciate the simple things has been a key inspiration. »

Set in a saddle of the landscape, the newly constructed main residence features multiple volumes, including the master bedroom that juts out into the trees and a hidden ocean-level living space. “The house unfurls along the landscape in the same way that several small bridges across the property take people on a journey,” says Stonely.Nature gave us the most wonderful tools – it was just a matter of how to incorporate it into our creations.

2. Create quiet opulence: Penthouse 09 by Banda

“As soon as you step into the space, your shoulders drop and you feel relaxed,” says Banda founder Edo Mapelli Mozzi of the multidisciplinary real estate practice’s latest project. Located in London’s Notting Hill, this bright fifth-floor penthouse overlooks a garden and offers an additional 2,300 square feet of outdoor space with its private rooftop terrace.

Inside, Banda Design Studio used a soothing palette of natural materials, textures and colors. With earthy hues and plantings of moss and olive trees, the walls are finished in a finely textured and highly durable clay plaster. “Clay is 100% natural and non-toxic,” says Mapelli Mozzi. “Its moisture and temperature regulating properties contribute to environmental health and comfort.”

The peaceful, contemporary space also includes a cozy nature-inspired nook with a green mohair sofa and sage-colored fine wool on the walls. “We have thought long and hard about how families want to live at this time, especially after periods of isolation,” adds Mapelli Mozzi. “Being in harmony with nature at home is more than ever a priority.”

3. Prioritize connection: Trancoso Pool House by Nenmar

The interior merges with the exterior in this pool house with guest rooms in Trancoso, Brazil. “We wanted to get back to basics, to disconnect by reconnecting with nature”, explains Gianluca Nencini, co-founder and director of the design studio Nenmar. “In the psychology of architecture, a visual connection between indoors, outdoors and nature can reduce stress and produce more positive emotional functioning,” he explains.

Nenmar has achieved this through the use of large sliding doors that open onto a mature garden filled with exotic plants native to the region. Meanwhile, natural light — vital for improving mental health and well-being, Nencini notes — filters into guest quarters through a screen made from local eucalyptus sticks. This design feature not only increases privacy, but also provides an eco-friendly way to regulate temperatures and enhances feelings of tranquility.

The result? A space that “uplifts the spirit and therefore the sanity of whoever uses the space,” says Nencini.

4. Unexpected Green Solutions: Knightsbridge Mews by Echlin

This redesign of a mews house in London’s Knightsbridge prioritises nature through the introduction of light, a living wall and natural materials. “This project is right in the heart of Knightsbridge. Previously, homes like this would have relied on nearby Hyde Park to tick the box when it comes to access to outdoor space,” says Samuel Pye, creative director at the London-based architectural design and development studio. Eclin.

“However, with a greater awareness of the impact of nature on our mental health, we felt it was necessary for the architecture of the house to bring the outdoors in and even indoors. of the House.” This includes a 20-foot-tall living wall for greenery; eight skylights to bring in natural light; indoor plants for better air quality and a palette of materials that brings natural textures.

“All of these features combine to create a soothing home that replaces traditional glamor with a sanctuary-like aesthetic,” says Pye. “For us, it’s the modern feeling of luxury.”

This story originally appeared on Luxury Defined by Christie’s International Real Estate.

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