Biophilic design at Hotel Luise

Who does not know it? After a stressful week, just get out into nature to take a breath and recharge your batteries. After all, nature is a place of retreat and relaxation for most people – and for some it is even a source of inspiration.
This shows very clearly what a positive influence nature has on us humans. And this is exactly what the so-called biophilic design takes advantage of in architecture and interior design.

“Biophilia” comes from the ancient Greek. bios “life” and philia “love” and means something like “love of life” or “love of the living”.
Accordingly, biophilic design is about incorporating elements from nature in order to increase the well-being of its users. These not only influence people’s moods, but also creativity and productivity.

In 2014, the sustainable consulting firm ‘Terrapin Bright Green’ published the ’14 Patterns of Biophilic Design’, which describe the basic principles of biophilic design and provide a good overview.
Overall, biophilic design is divided into three categories: biophilic design in space (including in the form of views, fresh air as well as water and light), analogies to nature (materials, shapes, complexity and order) and nature/characteristics of the space (sense of security and Panorama).

Biophilic Design in Space

  • Visible connection to nature (visible nature-related elements, e.g. plants in the room or windows with a view of nature)
    A good example of this are the many living green plants in the hotel. These can be found not only in every room, but also in all public areas in the hotel. In addition, every room has a view of the naturally green (front) garden, despite being located in the city center.
  • Invisible connection to nature: Senses such as hearing, touch, smell ensure a connection to nature (sounds (e.g. birdsong, rain), smells (e.g. of plants))
    As soon as you enter the renewable rooms, you can smell a natural scent – that of straw and hay. This was used in ceilings and walls in the form of OSB panels and provides a natural scent. And natural scents are also used in other areas, such as the spa, thereby creating a connection to nature.
  • Irregular sensory stimuli: random and temporary connections with nature (facades with moving designs, display designs, running water, etc.)
    In front of our breakfast room you can find a special recycled work of art made from leftover Styrofoam pieces. Targeted lighting and a built-in mirror create an optical illusion. It feels like you’re looking down an endless mountain tunnel.
  • Changing temperature and air conditions: Slightly changing air temperature/humidity, drafts, etc. (e.g. by opening windows, visible mechanical ventilation, etc.)
    The glass corridor serves as a connecting element between the buildings, but is open at the top and bottom, creating a climatic change as you move through the house.
  • Presence of water: seeing, hearing, feeling water on site (e.g. water areas in the entrance area, water walls)
    In and around the hotel you will find various water sources and you can relax and listen to the splashing water. Some examples are the stream at the entrance, the biotope in the shepherd’s garden or the waterfall in the deep courtyard.
  • Dynamic and diffuse light: Creation of different light and shadow conditions (e.g. daylight from different angles, firelight, light distribution)
    In the breakfast room, spotlights with different attachments create different lighting conditions and imitate sunshine from different directions. An attempt is made to combine the lighting conditions through the windows with the interior lighting.

Analogies to Nature

  • Connection to natural systems (rooms with courtyards or roof terraces, native plants that grow/die depending on the season)
    In our conference room there are several glass doors that provide a view of the inner courtyard, which is naturally green.
    And the roof terrace is not only made of wood, but also a third of nature in the form of a roof garden. In addition, our breakfast room has a beautiful view of our Franconian fruit slope.
  • Material related to the place: Material and elements from nature with local origins (wood, clay, earth, wool, etc.)
    Behind the reception there is a work of art that features various patterns and outlines and is completely decorated in natural brown and orange tones.
    In addition, the walls in the stairwell and partly in the spa have a specific, natural-looking structure, which was created using a special spatula technique.
  • Complexity and order: rich sensory information (e.g. carpet designs and patterns, repeating and symmetrical patterns)
    In our lobby is our Wall of Change, which is made of stored wooden leaves. These are arranged in a symmetrical, organic pattern.

Nature in Space

  • View/Overview: View from a certain distance (e.g. view, open floor plan, transparent materials, elevated levels)
    We strive to ensure that every guest has the opportunity to let their gaze wander. While on the roof terrace and in our event room there is a view over the roofs of Erlangen, in the rooms there is a view of the natural garden with terraced heights and depths.
  • Retreat: A place of refuge from the environment or everyday life in which the individual is protected from above and behind (e.g. four-poster beds, pavilions, trees as a protective roof, seats in bay windows)
    The former room 20, which was recently redesigned, offers various cozy retreats for guests.
    And the spa with its relaxation area or our event room under the roof with a hidden seating area invite you to relax and unwind.
  • Secret/hiding: The promise of further information due to partially hidden views or other sensory devices that encourage the user of a room to delve deeper into the environment (e.g. labyrinths, hidden pathways, screened windows, hidden view of focal objects)
    Hidden in a former wardrobe is probably the smallest conference room in the world: our Think in Box.
    Other examples include our “Closet of Narnia” (a door that looks like an old closet on the outside), winding hotel corridors or the breakfast room with niches. The deep courtyard also only becomes apparent when you go around a corner.
  • Risk/Danger: an identifiable danger combined with reliable protection (e.g. heights, gravity, water, transparent railings or floor plates)
    The connecting corridor between the two hotel buildings, the so-called “glass corridor”, offers a special experience, especially during storms. The glazing and the openings above and below give you the feeling of standing in the middle of the garden and experiencing the storm live. This way you are certainly protected, but you are also aware of the threat of this natural experience.