Colour, Light, and Materiality: Biophilic Interior Design Presence in Research and Practice

Main Article Content

Issue Vol. 5 No. 1 (2022)
Published Jan 30, 2022
Section Articles
Article downloads 3235
Submitted : Sep 30, 2021 | Accepted : Dec 24, 2021

Beth McGee Nam-Kyu Park


The biophilic design hypothesis uses nature-based environmental design for optimising people’s health and well-being. Stephen Kellert in 2008 developed a list of biophilic attributes that was further refined in the Biophilic Interior Design Matrix (BID-M) to specifically support the interior application of biophilic design for health and well-being. The present study further investigates biophilic interior design using the BID-M language and the key interior design components colour, light, and materiality. The first part of the study reviewed four decades of literature related to biophilia and colour, light, and materiality to investigate a total of 19 publications. The second part of the study explored the perceptions of 23 design practitioners' and the use of biophilia related to colour, light, and materiality in their practice. For the first time, evidence was identified about colour, light, and materiality being linked to biophilic design and the attributes in the BID-M. The study results showed colour preferences were the most frequently identified theme, and practitioners used a variety of biophilic attributes in their practice. The top attributes shared by both the literature review and practitioners were the abstraction of nature, composition, natural light, and natural materials. This finding shows that there is a focus on biophilic attributes in both research and practice, however, there are still many attributes that have not been linked to research and are not being used in practice. Further inquiry is needed to better understand how biophilic design can be more diversely integrated for optimal nature-like interior environments.

Keywords: colour, light, materiality, biophilic interior design, practitioner’s perception, biophilic interior design matrix

Article Details

How to Cite
McGee, B., & Park, N.-K. (2022). Colour, Light, and Materiality: Biophilic Interior Design Presence in Research and Practice. Interiority, 5(1), 27–52.
Author Biographies

Beth McGee, Georgia Southern University, USA

Beth McGee is an Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern University in the School of Human Ecology. Her PhD degree is from the University of Florida in the College of Design, Construction and Planning with a concentration in interior design. She has passed the NCIDQ exam and is also a LEED AP. Her personal focus areas for teaching, scholarship, and service are through service learning and biophilic design (nature-inspired). She follows a mission to do good through design by working with students/stakeholders/users to integrate diverse perspectives into the design process from the beginning. This is to increase beneficial choices, reduce waste, and increase the opportunity for voices to be heard with the optimal outcomes including greater place attachment and more environmentally responsible actions.

Nam-Kyu Park, University of Florida, USA

Nam-Kyu Park is an Associate Professor in the Department of Interior Design at the College of Design, Construction and Planning. She is a LEED accredited professional and NCIDQ certified interior designer. Also, she possesses Evidence-based Design Accreditation (EDAC), and a LC-Lighting Certificate. Her principal areas of research address the impact of lighting in interior environments and environmental design for special needs populations. She also examines cultural dimensions of the built environment defining environmental and social sustainability. Currently she is serving as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Interior Design.


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