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biophilic moodboards: water

in biophilic moodboards

Welcome back to Biophilic Moodboards, the monthly column where we explore biophilic design…one moodboard at a time!

After having talked about greenery last month, it’s now time to get refreshed and relaxed at the same time.

Let’s dive into this month’s Biophilic Moodboard and let’s talk about water!

Biophilic design moodboard showing the power of water in a biophilic design: drops falling from a leaf, a table with a water-like texture and a water fountain.
Credits (from top left): Frame Harirak, Mathieu Lehanneur (via Instagram), Ginggaanbai. Moodboard: anooi studio

Besides being a real eye-catcher, a water feature has very positive effects on our mind. Reduced stress, better mood, improved concentration and an overall feeling of calm are just some of the proved benefits of the exposure to water. A very good reason to incorporate it more often in interiors!

moving water

The key to using water in the most beneficial way is movement. Moving water can be seen and heard at the same time. And its effect on wellbeing comes exactly from engaging more of our senses at once.

But not all movements are the same! A calming effect comes from overall flowy and calm movements. If the water movement is too strong or violent, this would actually have the opposite effect, making people anxious and uncomfortable.

In practice, good examples of moving water designs could be a fountain, a waterfall, or even a pond at the bottom of a staircase!

As a note: when installing any water feature, it’s important to incorporate a system of continuous water recirculation to avoid water waste.

Small waterfall in a patio.
Credit: Grandwood (via Houzz)
Outdoor waterfall feature.
Credit: Spiridecor
Pond below a modern staircase.
Credit: Park+Associates (via Houzz)

big is not better

Naturally flowing water always creates compelling and constantly-changing shapes & sounds. The size of the water feature does not matter as much! A smaller fountain or water wall works perfectly well, to the delight of every one among us living in a small space (me included)!

Also, a bigger water feature makes quite a noise, which could end up being disturbing in a smaller space. And that’s the opposite of what biophilic design aims at!

Small water fountain, perfect addition to a small space to create a biophilic design.
Credit: Wayfair

accent lighting

If there is one thing that brings any water design to the next level, that is accent lighting. A light pointing at the right spot can emphasize the flowing movements of water, or give more dimension to single drops when they splash.

In short words, light makes a water design even more intriguing to watch. And more powerful in terms of wellbeing too!

Fountain on the side of a concrete staircase.
Credit: Huettl (via Houzz)
Waterfall coming out of steel panels. Great example of water design feature contributing to a more biophilic design of the space.
Credit: HGTV (Photo by George Dzahristos)

tactile access to water

As a general rule, the positive effect of nature on our wellbeing comes from the stimulation of all our senses at once. This is the reason why leaving a water feature at hand’s reach would make it even more beneficial!

Outdoor water wall, great element to a biophilic outdoor design.
Credit: David Harber (via Houzz)

water as furniture

How to use water as a furnishing element? One example above all is space separation. Using a water wall as a room divider is a useful application of a water feature. Plus, it adds an incredible focal point to the space!

Indoor water wall acting as a room divider.
Credit: Water Studio

Water is a great addition to interiors. But in fact, all the 4 elements – air, water, earth and fire – can be used in interior design to create compelling spaces that reconnect us to the natural world!


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