The Importance of Biophilic Design



At LIGNIA, we’re proud to work with timber experts who are renowned within the industry. We’ve recently partnered with Criswell Davis, American hardwood expert and TEDxDayton presenter to launch LIGNIA’s architectural CEU 'High-Performance Modified Wood: Beauty Built to Last', which begins this month.

Our new CEU provides an overview of the wood modification process that results in LIGNIA - a product that’s non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

In the article below, Criswell discusses the importance of trees and the effect they can have when used in architectural design.



Yale researcher Stephen Kellert, often referred to as the “Godfather of Biophilia” did a great deal to capture the essence of how and why humans resonate in a very healthy way with trees.

Trees and humans live in perfect symbiosis - we exhale CO2 while trees inhale that CO2 and in return give us oxygen. Throughout this process, the trees are storing carbon which will remain stored even as finished products. Growing trees actively absorb carbon, while dying trees release that carbon. Through sustainable forest management, older trees are harvested and put to man’s use, thus allowing for young trees to aggressively absorb carbon as they grow.

The notion of biophilic design refers to the yearning we humans have, on a cellular level, to connect with nature in our built environments where we spend 90% of our time. Using certified sustainable timber in your built environment increases one’s sense of well-being and good health. Numerous studies have been conducted across the globe about the health benefits of surrounding yourself with wood in all of its forms, notably in exterior cladding, interior and deck flooring as well as furniture and joinery. Having survived cancer twice, I was asked to serve on a patient advisory council for a new cancer hospital. As an exercise, the architects and designers posted dozens of photos and renderings of various interior spaces. After handing out sheets of red, yellow and green stickers they asked the council members to place red stickers on the spaces they didn’t like, yellow to represent ambivalence and finally green to indicate approval. At the end of the exercise, the pattern was clear. All of the photos and renderings that included natural light and wood received green stickers. Wood can even help improve the acoustic environments in which we live and heal.


Timber has been used in construction for centuries on a worldwide scale and certain countries have been practicing sustainable forestry for generations. Others have aligned themselves with the Forest Stewardship Council certification scheme to assure consumers that the softwood and hardwood timbers used to create their interior and exterior spaces are sustainably managed. Connecting to nature through the use of sustainable timber will lead to a healthier, happier life for you and for the planet.



Criswell recently gave a talk at TEDxDayton on 'American Hardwood Improves Our Lives'.

In it, he discusses the significance of using wood in the built environment for our wellbeing. 

Give it a watch.

Criswell Davis is the Founding Director of Timber and Forestry Foundation. He is a leading expert in the field of American hardwoods and advises some of the largest architecture and design firms in the world. 

Criswell Davis

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