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biophilic moodboards: designing for temperature and air variations

in biophilic moodboards

Natural environments are rich and interesting. They offer restorative stimuli and sensory abundance, and they evolve throughout the day and the year. Another element of sensory richness comes from varying temperatures and airflows.

This episode of Biophilic Moodboards looks into thermal and airflow variability: an invisible yet essential element of comfortable and healthy spaces…

Biophilic design moodboard showing thermal and airflow variability. 1: outdoor seating area under the shadow of a tree. 2: a soft rug on a wooden flooring. 3: grass moving in the wind.
Credits (from top left): Tribù, Armadillo & Co., Azlan Baharudin . Moodboard: anooi studio

about temperature and air variations

In nature, the air is constantly moving and slightly different temperatures coexist. There are cool and warm breezes, areas in the sun, and corners shaded by the canopy. Indoors, the air is usually more stagnant and temperatures are set to constant values.

Yet natural ventilation and a degree of thermal variation make for healthier indoor climates and more lively atmospheres. An important starting point to reconsider how we design spaces…

Outdoor seating area in the shadow.
Credit: Nobrand Studio

fresh air intake

Exposure to fresh air is one simple yet not trivial point to introduce airflow and temperature variations in everyone’s daily life.

This highlights the importance of operable windows in interiors, and calls for layouts that invite people to step beyond the four walls of interior spaces, such as indoor-outdoor layouts and outdoor areas.

Outdoor seating area in the shadow.
Credit: Tribù
Window with wood shading system.
Credit: Eldridge Anderson Architects – Ph: Ben Hosking, Rory Gardiner

material choices

Materials have a distinctive temperature to the touch: some are warm and reassuring, others refreshing and awakening. As such, material choices also contribute to the temperature map of a space.

Curated juxtapositions, intentional combinations of opposites as well as transitioning solutions will craft interesting environments that follow the flow of seasons while remaining comfortable throughout the year.

Rug softening the feel of a stone floor.
Credit: Armadillo

the importance of options

Thermal comfort is a very personal perception and it’s important to leave people in control. This becomes even more important in offices, restaurants, hotels and other communal spaces where many people live at once.

Choosing the temperature in the space, opening windows, adding blankets… these are all solutions that give people a degree of control and the means to achieve their own level of thermal comfort.

Roman blinds creating shadow on a sofa area.
Credit: Luxaflex
Outdoor space with blanket and cushions.
Credit: Tine K Home – Ph: Mikkel Adsbøl

As a whole, thermal and airflow variability introduces an element of liveliness and sensory richness that shapes healthier and more restorative experiences in all designed spaces.

Biophilic design resources by anooi:
A Biophilic YearApplying Biophilic DesignVisual Library of Biophilic Design