Understanding Biophilic Interior Design with Michelle Castagna and Jeffrey Allis –

Episode #098 the Wingnut Social Podcast

Michelle Castagna is the owner of Muse Design Studio with over 20 years of experience in the design industry. Her goal is to make every individual’s unique story shine through in their design. She wants to encourage her clients to experience life in a positive and balanced way through Biophilic design.

After 25 years with the Chicago Board of Trade, Jeffrey Allis shifted industries and became a Biophilic designer and Horticultural Consultant. He provides his expertise in the US, Canada, and Latin America. His life-long love for plants and gardening is apparent in his beautiful designs.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social

  • [1:05] Biophilic Design Panel at DCOTA Market
  • [3:05] Michelle’s start in the design industry
  • [5:10] Jeffrey’s beginnings in the world of design
  • [5:55] What is Biophilic design?
  • [9:15] How has the movement risen in popularity
  • [12:30] The science of Biophilic design
  • [18:00] How do you educate yourself and clients?
  • [20:30] How do we incorporate Biophilic design
  • [31:15] Biophilic design in cold climates
  • [34:25] Maintenance and upkeep
  • [38:50] What to look for in a professional?
  • [42:30] Where is Biophilic design headed?
  • [47:00] Vertical plant walls
  • [51:05] IFDA implementing a certification program
  • [52:10] Reason for the resurgence

Connect with Michelle Castagna

Connect with Jeffrey Allis

Resources & People Mentioned

What in the world is Biophilic design?

Biophilic design’s most simple definition is a love of nature and incorporating natural elements into your interior design. It is about bringing nature back into the built environment. It is about your wellbeing and the emotion you feel when you’re in your space. People want to feel grounded in their homes and enveloped in a sense of calm.

There is so much “gray” in people’s lives. They are hungry for texture, color, and life in their homes.

The way the human brain functions in beautiful spaces has a direct impact on health and well-being. Because of this, Michelle points out that you must incorporate how a client wants to feel in their space. You answer that by providing natural elements the evoke the emotion they seek to feel. It can be with direct elements, such as live plants. Or you can incorporate faux greenery, wood elements, natural shapes, etc.

How to incorporate Biophilic design

Americans have become so detached from nature that most people don’t know how to keep a plant in their home alive. Jeffrey points out that the right plants in the right space is key. Once you’ve identified the correct plant, it’s as easy as feeding and watering to the proper specifications. There are even low-maintenance plants for those without a green thumb (cough—Darla—cough).

To do this properly, you need to seek out an expert in the space—or become an expert yourself.

Even if you don’t have the knowledge and know-how to choose the proper living plants, you can focus on bringing the outside in (continuum theory). Your home doesn’t need to be a jungle to be Biophilic. If you’re in Miami, it could mean simply incorporating the right wood, seashells, natural elements, or even images that connect you with the nature outside your window.

This special bonus episode is full of content about the world of Biophilic design. Don’t miss the value it can add to your design process!

Connect With Darla & Wingnut Social

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