Why is there a painting of a bloke in a frock coat looking out over some rocky crags, I hear you ask?

Well, he’s the link you see.

Read on.

Biophilic design is a principle which I have unknowingly always lived by and until it started being bandied about as a principle, I naively thought everybody else did too. A bit like saying the sky is blue. It just is. I didn’t realise it was “a thing” which it very much is and hitting the press in a big way. Which is fab.

So here’s a quick Wiki description:

Biophilia = Bio (nature) + philia (love of).

“Biophilic design is a concept used within the building [and interiors] industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment…”.

Basically saying that being close to nature, the environment and natural products makes us feel good.

So for this post I wanted to link the ILALA collection to the biophilic movement in a slightly more subtle way than just  “Hey, look! We source natural, ethically harvested woven homewares and we happened to be part of a growing trend”.

As an art historian (by degree), out of nowhere Caspar David Friedrich’s The Wanderer Above A Sea Of Fog, 1818 (that’s the dude in the coat) popped into my head because I remember the main characteristics of Romanticism is “getting back to nature”.

Nature and the past are glorified. The rural idyll. Nature is idealised, often by showing how small man’s existence is in vast expanses of the natural world. Big skies and big views which invite brooding contemplation. Nostalgia for times past. A bygone era. Friedrich’s paintings and the works of Turner and Constable were great examples to pop into an essay to illustrate this point.

Sadly I can’t remember the full extent of my ‘A’ level essays (probably just as well), so I revised the reasons behind the Romantic movement.

OK weird…..and this is the link I was talking about.

This description could have been written yesterday about today. I was so excited by this unintended connection between the two movements. It’s sad I know but I love it when that happens.

‘A growing disillusionment with materialistic society [ringing any bells?] was giving rise to a new spirituality, expressed through a re evaluation of the natural world which sought to depict nature as “divine creation to be set against the artifice of human civilisation”‘.

OK less divine creation as we all believe what we like nowadays, but Romanticism was an aesthetic counter attack against the Industrial Revolution. Biophilic design movement is a counter attack against our increasingly materialistic society, reliance on AI, robots and algorithms which rule our lives and which we have no control over. And NO, I am not a luddite, far from it but the lack of our having control is scary. I digress!

It is no coincidence that in times of change we humans need solace and seek the natural world for the easy place it is to access and dive into for our refuge. All we need to do is to go outside. We express our connection to the natural world in what we eat, what we wear, how we exercise, what we read and now in our homes and the spaces we inhabit.

WHY do we need nature and that connectivity to the natural world to make us feel better?

Oliver Heath, biolphic architect suggests an interesting and I suspect true fact: we all have a genetic connection to the natural world, built up through hundreds of thousands of years living in an agrarian setting. So it is only by reconnecting with those basic primeval elements of the natural world that we are rebalanced. And we all need to rebalance.

Because many of us live in urban areas, this reconnection is hard to find. But all is not lost.

Research says that by incorporating elements of nature into the built environment our stress levels are reduced, as are our blood pressure and heart rates. Concentration and cognitive ability are improved. Creativity, productivity and well-being rates increase.

Funny that.

We at ILALA HQ are so excited that this biophilic movement has come about and become “a thing” because it means it’s being spoken about, it is out there in the ether: in reports, in studies, in the press, in our food (organic), what we wear (sustainably harvested), and how we design our spaces, filling them full of natural textures and references to the natural world.

Here’s to that and long may it last.

ILALA will always be here, even if another movement comes riding in on another wave.

Enjoy our new images, taken by the lovely Emma Lewis and styled by the patient Hana Snow.