Here at The Joy of Plants, we're proud to present ‘Meet The Master’: a series of interviews with the experts of our Plant Design Masterclasses. These leaders in their field live and breathe the art of plant design.
Meet biophilic designer Alexander Bond, founder of Biophilic Designs in London. We talked to him about his passion for plants, his inspirations, and what for him would be the perfect example of biophilic design in practice.
Biophilia is a calling
Alexander Bond grew up in a farming family, but that was not the only reason he returned to working with nature as an adult. Nobody enjoys sitting eight hours a day in a dull, grey office, but for Alexander the reaction was extreme. He missed nature so much that he gave up his job and started work as a biophilic designer. “Working in such an unnatural environment made me realise that I wanted to surround myself with greenery,” he explains. Now Alexander spends his days bringing planting to buildings, both inside and out.
When Alexander is given a plant design brief, he finds ideas for the project by visiting garden centres in that part of the world. That way he gets to know the local plants and discovers interesting ways of using plants in urban areas. More generally, he also gets a lot of inspiration from books, through online research and from Instagram. “I’m always looking for new possibilities and new types of plants to try out,” he says.
Alexander is most proud of an office project that he coordinated. Employees were given a plant by their desk, and they were so thrilled that they named the plants and began to look after it. The nurturing and caring effect on their moods was startlingly positive as well. “It made me incredibly proud,” remembers Alexander, “and it was also confirmation that we are absolutely drawn to nature.”
Alexander’s ideal project would be in a healthcare setting. “We see a lot of stark white spaces, and little interaction with nature,” he explains. “When people are healing in the presence of plants, the greenery massively improves physical and mental wellbeing. The power of nature knows no limits. It would be a dream come true to be given the opportunity to rebalance healthcare facilities in this way.”
Plant design at home
As well as companies and institutions, the principles of biophilic plant design are perfectly suited for our home interiors. For Alexander, his ideal home would be designed 'plant first', creating an dreamlike space reminiscent of the mythical hanging gardens of Babylon. “It would be a space with insects and birds flying around a myriad of plant species, creating a rich, green environment. Ideally there would also be a waterfall or pond somewhere, and the design would be supported by the right colour scheme, with natural materials and delicate lighting that enhances the already-abundant natural light.” It sounds like paradise.
If you're curious to discover Alexander's plant design practice in full, you can watch his masterclass here.