Revisiting Biophilia

An exhibition at the Goldstein’s HGA Gallery reconnects people and nature

Photos provided

As winter rages on, who doesn’t feel the need for warmth, greenery, and a more accessible (and less life-threatening) connection to nature? Aside from weekly ventures to the Como Conservatory—for immersion into lush tropical and fern-laden gardens—where else can you escape for an afternoon? The Goldstein Museum of Design’s HGA Gallery in Rapson Hall at the University of Minnesota just opened a new exhibition, Biophilia + Well-being + Design, curated to reconnect visitors to living, breathing nature through biophilic design.

According to Sheree Vincent, Allied ASID, and founder and principal of Fusion Designed in Forest Lake, “We have a genetic connection to the natural world… Biophilia means a love of life and the living world; the affinity of human beings for other life forms. Biophilic design creates a strong relationship between nature and human-made environments. Introducing biophilic designs into your home improves your physical and mental health and your productivity, and reduces stress.”

Incorporating biophilia into the home isn’t new. We’ve all noticed how houseplants can change the look and feel of any space. Biophilia, however, goes further: “It is a fundamental connection design has with the living world to create shelter, beauty, and well-being for humanity and all life,” according to the Goldstein. The HGA Gallery exhibition, curated by Richard Graves with assistance from faculty, students, and colleagues from the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR), investigates the history, frameworks, and applications of biophilic design amid an installation of plant life.

Ideas to glean from the exhibition to enhance the biophilic aspects of your home include incorporating more live plants to clean indoor air, increase humidity, produce oxygen, and boost well-being. Vincent also recommends introducing artwork, textures, colors, and fabrics that bring nature inside. Another tip Vincent offers is to not force décor if you don’t feel connected to it. “If growing plants isn’t your thing, then don’t fill your house with plants because ‘dead energy is not happy energy.’ Instead, focus on another design aspect that feels more like you.”

The exhibition is free, and open Monday through Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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