Biophilic design? A study of emotions, influences, and perceptions of furniture design incorporating living organisms

  • Nurul Ayn Ahmad Sayuti

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Biophilia is a theory that proposes the innate feeling of human beings to be associated with nature and living organisms. Emotional design encompasses diverse approaches to feelings and emotions in relation to design. Within this framework, this study aimed to explore the influences of furniture designers, as well as the perceptions of potential users, in regards to furniture which incorporates living organisms. Interestingly, a review of the literature found that, although Biophilic Design has been widely reported in architecture and environmental design circles, few studies have addressed the application of these principles in the context of furniture design. The empirical research documented in this thesis has employed a cross-over mixed methods approach, which encompasses integration of qualitative and quantitative data. A classification of 235 furniture designs with embedded living organisms (such as plants, animals, and insects) was conducted, and a conceptual model with 4 main categories and 24 subcategories was developed and tested through an online survey. The online survey was disseminated to general respondents, and the most significant responses were stratified before another respondent group of Australian Designers was added to strengthen the findings. In parallel to the online survey,17 designers of furniture design with living organisms classified previously were interviewed. The aim of the interviews was to understand the reasons and rationale of incorporating living organisms in furniture designs. Finally, the quantitative data from the online survey and the qualitative data from the interviews were visually presented, analysed and triangulated. Main findings of the research, as well as conclusions and suggestions for future research conclude the dissertation.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra
SupervisorCarlos Montana Hoyos (Supervisor) & Livio Bonollo (Supervisor)

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