Using Charred Timbers in Biophilic Design
So many of us have enjoyed more time in the garden, local parks and natural countryside in 2020. With few other options, the great outdoors has provided an escape from the confines of all living under one roof.
Whether enjoying games and a picnic through summer, or a walk on a glorious autumnal day, many of us have started to feel the benefits of reconnecting with nature. Once outside, we appreciate the changing seasons, the stunning landscapes and the colourful blooms in the garden.
What if our homes, offices and public spaces enabled us to reconnect with nature even whilst indoors? With the use of natural materials including charred timber cladding, is it possible to create buildings that enhance well-being?
It is, and this style is known as biophilic design. This article explores the concept and explains how this relates to charred timber cladding and other natural materials.
What is Biophilic Design?
Biophilic design focuses on how the built environment can be improved by nature. This is not a new concept; an example is a hotel room designed by Oliver Heath back in 2015, which included Shou Sugi Ban® charred timber. Oliver Heath has championed this design concept. At last year’s London Design Festival it was recognised as being a strong influence in architecture and interior design for 2020 and beyond.
Why are Natural Materials Important in Design?
There is a connection between natural elements and how positive and productive we feel. Research shows a correlation between our exposure to nature and our sense of well-being. We can’t always be outdoors, but biophilic design surrounds us with natural references.
Biophilic designers optimise natural light with large south-facing windows and roof lanterns. Windows are positioned where they offer the best views and less desirable perspectives can be improved with exterior planting, including window boxes. With these design considerations, our affinity with nature is satisfied and we feel all the better for it.
Connecting with the Natural Environment
On the exterior, the defined grain or crackled finish of charred timber cladding offers natural patterns, textures and character to a building. Our Shou Sugi Ban® charred timbers offer a desirable, timeless finish which helps contemporary buildings blend into the natural environment. The Suffolk Black Barn, designed by Studio Bark is a prime example.
Internally, biophilic design uses stone, wood, woven willow, leather, cork, silk and cotton rather than synthetic materials. These materials bring the outside in. Their colour palette and tactile nature deliver a sense of calm. The deep tone of external wood cladding might be reflected with a dining table made from burnt timbers or dark kitchen cupboard doors.
Planting and Colour
Plants are a primary feature of biophilic design, but this is more than a token Kentia Palm or Cactus on the windowsill. Plants can be used effectively to divide internal spaces and aid social distancing in public areas and offices. A connection can be made between internal and external planting, creating a sense of flow between internal and external spaces. From pot plants to living green walls, no home or office is complete without greenery.
Colour and pattern play a role in biophilic design. This year, Farrow & Ball released a collection of paints developed in collaboration with the Natural History Museum. Matched with natural specimens, the range includes Duck Green and Common Marigold. For Dulux, Tranquil dawn, a muted tone was their colour of 2020. What will the 2021 colours of choice be?
When it comes to soft furnishing and wallpapers, botanical prints are popular. These cover everything from stylised designs inspired by the Arts & Craft movement, to tropical foliage and simplified Skandi patterns.
Charred Timber Cladding Suppliers
If you are drawn to the feel-good factor of incorporating nature in your new house build, renovation project or property upgrade, check out the Shou Sugi Ban® range online.
Exterior Solutions Ltd is a trusted charred timber cladding suppliers. The Shou Sugi Ban® range includes a variety of woods and finishes, which are widely used in both heritage and contemporary architectural and interior design. Based on the traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi, our experienced team create quality finished timbers in our on-site workshop.
The charring process is effective in creating a highly desirable range of colours. We offer a tried and tested timber selection includes burnt larch, burnt fir and burnt oak cladding. More than providing a strong visual impact, the process also helps to protect and preserve the wood. This reducing maintenance and makes the wood suitable for long-term external use.
If you would like to receive Shou Sugi Ban® samples, call us on 01494 711800. We can also answer your questions and discuss the suitability of charred wood for your application.