“Winter always turns to Spring”
(“Winter Always Turns to Spring,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 536)
After two years of uncertainty and time spent indoors, Ibiza is fully in the thrills of spring and a new love affair with life. The above quote may have been written in the 13th Century, still, it couldn’t be a more symbolic reminder that no matter what hardships we encounter, the power of the universe is vast and winter does eventually always turn to spring.
With so many of us ready to leap into something hopeful, it’s no surprise that an emerging trend for 2022 is biophilic design. This funny little word has a beautiful meaning. It is the desire and tendency of humans to want to connect with nature and each other. While this hypothesis can be traced back to ancient times, biologist Edward O. Wilson first popularised it in his book Biophilia (1984). He defined biophilia as “ an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world.”
Back in the day, Aristotle summed up this concept as a ‘love of life.
This impulse for connection with nature became apparent during lockdown when we all embraced plant parenthood, for example, surrounding ourselves with more greenery to combat the long hours spent indoors disconnected from the outside world.
The inspiration for this plant-centric aesthetic can be traced back to the wonderfully wild and fun Justina Blakeney, designer, artist, and New York Times best-selling author of The New Bohemians, The New Bohemians Handbook and Jungalow: Decorate Wild. Justina set up a design blog called Jungalow in 2009 out of her tiny plant-filled flat and fearlessly created an authentically different interior vision than any of her contemporaries at that time. Her own personal heritage and background influenced her passion for mixing colour, pattern and plants.
In her book, Jungalow she writes;
“In the wild, plants send pollen grains to ride the water or wind or develop flowers with the colours, fragrances, or nectar necessary to attract pollinators, all in order to send their genes far afield to mix with one another. All sexually reproducing species go to great lands to mix their genes as a way to survive shifting environmental conditions. Over time, new species evolve and the result is the vast array of living organisms we encounter on our planet. We, humans, are part of this story, of course, and there is a deep sense that our very existence as individuals and as a species is the result of putting a very high value on genetic mixture and diversity. Mixing is magic.”
This delicious perspective on plants and their profound power to rejuvenate and thrive offers us humans so much insight into how we can all do the same. With more architects and designers weaving the essence of biophilic design into their projects perhaps we can all look forward to reconnecting with life and stepping into a summer of love that we all deserve.