Deccan Chronicle

Reconnecting with Nature

Deccan Chronicle.| Swati Sharma

Published on: August 2, 2023 | Updated on: August 2, 2023

Nature has played an important role in shaping the design of buildings and structures

Greener homes

Greener homes

Living in greener homes has significant psychological and physical benefits. By altering the way cities and buildings are constructed, we can change our proximity to nature and bring ourselves more in tune with it.

Creating an indoor-outdoor appeal

Natural light, sustainability, organic colours, and greenery are the only escape from a noisy, polluted, and claustrophobic world. Our capacity to breathe and think is enhanced by this. The 10,000 square foot home "Ekta Prime" of Aamir and Hameeda is covered in vegetation to give it an indoor-outdoor feel. Ekta Prime’s main attraction is also the staircase that connects its three floors, as well as the plants that surround it. "We planned a staircase design for the home, connecting the three floors, and insisted on a skylight because we wanted greenery along the home's central axis. The skylight gives this house the natural light it needs as well as the light the plants need to grow."

— Aamir Sharma of Aamir and Hameeda Interior Designers (AANDH)
Aamir and Hameeda have been chosen to represent India as brand ambassadors for Maison de objet, the world’s largest accessory fair in Paris.

Zen gardens

Natural elements such as Earth, Water, Sky and Fire, which have always been a part of our lives, are now being invited into the space we live in. The organic material options for doing so can include distressed or log wood for furnishings, fresh linen upholstery, hand-woven bamboo or jute as accessories - all part of an earthy colour scheme of beiges, browns and greens.

In the grand scheme of things, a home can embrace the alfresco vibe with indoor water elements, greenhouses, and balcony gardens that bring the physicality of nature right to our doorstep. To recall natural forms, try adding rattan-wicker patio furniture such as round tables and cocooning armchairs. You can also incorporate Zen gardens with sand platforms and rock landscapes. To foster an eco-friendly spirit in an urban environment, re-imagine your backyard with a mini cabana setup or an actual pavilion with a sectional sofa or simply a pair of sun-loungers. A linear solid wood table and a slew of wrought-iron lawn chairs  will add to the ambience.

— Interior Designer Punam Kalra, Creative Director of I'm the Centre for applied Arts

Organic Architecture

Nature and architecture can and must coexist. The term "Organic Architecture" was coined by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908. The current trend is that man is a species in the ecosphere, part of and dependent on nature, and must live in harmony with it.  Living walls and natural lights with organic materials and natural colours and textures are becoming more prevalent in architectural designs of built environments, rather than rigid structures separated from the outdoor landscapes. This new holistic approach has resulted in substantial psychological and physical benefits for humanity.

— Atreyee Choudhury, Founder & Principal Interior Architect at De Panache

Elements of biophilic design

Utilisation of Sustainable Materials: Green interior design places a high value on the utilisation of sustainable materials. Materials that are recyclable, renewable, or have a smaller carbon footprint fall under this category. Examples include low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, recycled metal, reclaimed wood, and bamboo.

Energy Efficiency: Green interior design aims to lower energy consumption through the use of energy-efficient HVAC systems, appliances, and lighting. Green interiors frequently include energy-saving electronics, programmable thermostats, and LED lighting.

Water Efficiency: In order to use less water, green interiors use water-saving fixtures like low-flow toilets and faucets. Drought-tolerant plants can also reduce the amount of water needed for indoor landscaping.

Recycling and Waste Reduction: Green interior design practises encourage recycling and waste reduction techniques. This may entail recycling already-used materials, reusing objects, and choosing products with recyclable or compostable parts.

Sustainable Furniture and Textiles: Green interiors prioritize the use of eco-friendly furniture made from sustainable materials and processes. Sustainable textiles made from organic fibers or recycled materials are also preferred.

Nature’s Impact

By bringing the outside into our living spaces, the natural elements trend in architecture and design aims to create settings that promote a closer relationship with nature.

Less concrete and more nature

Living walls or vertical gardens: They not only improve air quality by filtering out pollutants, but also reduce urban heat island effects and contribute to biodiversity in urban areas.

Natural light: Natural light exposure has been shown to improve mood, increase productivity, and reduce reliance on artificial lighting, resulting in energy savings.

Organic Materials: Organic materials, such as wood, stone and natural fibres, create a soothing and inviting atmosphere. Earthy colours and textures promote relaxation and reduce stress by instilling a sense of calm and comfort.

— Sona Chatwani, Principal Designer and the creative force behind
SC Design Studio

Courtyard gardens & window boxes

Houses were built as shelters from harsh sunlight, rain, and cold. We became so engrossed in building houses as a statement, a luxury, a standard of life, that we lost touch with nature. And then, as cities became concrete jungles, we began to realise the value of sunlight, trees, and simply seeing endless water and sky. We humans realised after the pandemic that staying indoors is not enough for us.
As a result, efforts are being made to restore gardens, either in the form of courtyards or large window boxes. Through these gardens, we  remind us ourselves of nature, particularly if we live in apartments or in densely-populated areas.  

— S Supraja Rao, interior designer and founder, Design House

The green philosophy

As cities continue to attract people from all walks of life, densely packed skyscrapers and a scarcity of parks and greenery have become the new norm. This urban sprawl has influenced how we design buildings. Nature is no longer confined to the great outdoors. It is gracefully entering our homes and breathing new life into them. Biophilic design, as it is known, is more than a fad; it taps into our innate love of nature and has been shown to have profound health benefits. As an interior designer, I am ecstatic to see this shift that harmoniously integrates the urban and natural realms.

We breathe fresh air into our spaces and create oxygen-rich sanctuaries amidst the hustle and bustle of urban life by incorporating elements such as living walls. Furthermore, the use of organic materials such as wood, stone and natural fibres connects us to the earth, grounding us in its natural beauty. Another feature of the green movement is the embracing of natural light. Infusing spaces with sunlight strategically creates a seamless connection to the outdoors, enhancing our circadian rhythms and mental clarity.

Weaving nature into our urban fabric promotes peaceful coexistence. Cities and structures that prioritise this integration promote healthier, more sustainable living.

— Interior designer Meghana Nimmagadda, Designtales LLP

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