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biophilic moodboards: creating refuge areas in interiors

in biophilic moodboards

Crafting wellbeing-centered biophilic spaces includes the notion of refuge areas: secluded areas that make a space feel intimate and comforting.

This episode of Biophilic Moodboards explores the concept of refuge as well as how it translates to designed spaces…

Biophilic moodboard showing a sense of refuge: 1. A curved sofa. 2. A seating nook. 3. A hanging chair
Credits (from top left): OOAA Arquitectura, Éléonore Levai + Benjamin Belaga, Dedon. Moodboard: anooi studio

about refuge

The dictionary defines a refuge as “a place that provides shelter or protection”. And isn’t this what an interior (especially a home) should be? An alcove, a safe harbour, a place to feel at ease and disconnect from outside world…

In practice though, every home is the background to many different activities. It is a place for everyday family life, gatherings with friends, even work for someone. With so many different activities happening, it’s sometimes hard to identify home as a calming shelter. This is why it’s important to carve refuge areas, which will become an invite to find some moments of calm and silence throughout the day.

refuge in interiors

Taking inspiration from places that provide shelter in nature, the key ingredients of a refuge could be summarized as:

Reading nooks and window seats are perfect interior design examples. But the concept can be applied to whole rooms as well, with bedroom and bathroom being the ideal ones.

Cozy wooden bathtub area.
Credit: Design by Kengo Kuma - Render by Atefeh Taki

not only for relaxing

Refuge areas are not just spaces to relax, and they can serve different functions in different spaces.

Being sheltered by definition, refuge areas can be used to create the right conditions for concentration in the workplace and in home offices.
In public spaces such as restaurants and urban areas, the concept of refuge will be used to create more private alcoves inside a bigger shared space.

Home office shielded with a wooden partition.
Credit: Gregory Lavor (via Instagram)
Bench with a curved profile that creates individual refuge areas for each person seating.
Credit: "Please be seated" installation by Paul Cocksedge (via Instagram) at London Design Fair 2019

Refuge is a powerful concept that can truly help shape better spaces, more comfortable spaces where people can feel and function better.

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