Natural Selection

Jennifer Morrison on biophilic design.

Photo by Trent Bell
Photo by Jeff Roberts
Photo by Kara Rosenlund
Photo by Trent Bell

“Whatever is happening in nature, it has purpose. I believe that design should mimic that.” MH+D asks Morrison to tell us more.

Q. What is biophilic design, and why is it important?

A. Biophilic design is a method of connecting people to our natural environment through both direct and indirect methods. It’s something I am very passionate about and feel is lacking in the design community. Thoughtful design that embraces both the physical and ephemeral presence of nature is important to me.

Q. How do you incorporate biophilia in your work?

A. My approach to adding biophilia to my interior design work is through form, color, and material. Biophilic design is a fairly new element in the design community, and it can be incredibly complex. It has more to do with thermal environment, sunlight, and diffusion of sunlight than picking out things that relate in an abstract way to nature (although that is part of it too). The consequence of designing in this way connects directly to how we feel and behave within our homes. If we design within these parameters, the result can promote better health and well-being.

Q. Can you describe a specific project where it is apparent?

A. Actually, that would be my own house. I chose a color blue that reminded me of the way the sun hits the top of the waves when surfing. It’s a euphoria I wanted to be reminded of every single day. As a result, my home is an oasis that I have crafted for myself very specifically.

Q. What inspires this mode of thinking for you?

A. It’s quite literally the landscape that surrounds me. In Maine, I am lucky to have the ocean, mountains, lakes, and forests. I grew up in a much more urban development and I do not take the beauty where I live for granted. I have readily available, multiple different sources of inspiration, any of which I can find within 30 minutes of my house. As a designer, it’s quite freeing to witness the seasonal progression and take from the palettes Mother Nature throws my way. My interiors are replications of what I’ve seen outside when walking, running, or just looking out a window. I’m hoping to capture a feeling, share it with my clients, and as a result, bring immense joy through design.

MH+D is proud to partner with acclaimed architectural photographer Trent Bell on his architecture, design, and photography podcast. To hear Trent Bell’s conversation with Patrick Costin, please visit