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Biophilic moodboards: water

in biophilic moodboards

Water is extremely restorative for the mind, and a biophilic approach encourages its use as a design element. The presence of water and water features adds interest, introduces sensory richness, and incorporates a real natural element in the space.

This episode of Biophilic Moodboards looks into the use of water in designed spaces…

Biophilic design moodboard showing the use of water in a biophilic design: 1. An outdoor rainfall shower. 2. Fountain with thin water jets. 3. A table with a water-like texture.
Credits (from top left): Vezzoni et Associés, PWP + Dew,  Mathieu Lehanneur. Moodboard: anooi studio

sensory water features

Spaces that stimulate all the senses are inherently more interesting, and water features can add restorative stimuli to the space.

Whenever speaking about sensory stimuli, accessibility is a factor to consider, allowing as many sensory interactions as it’s possible and appropriate. Water features are no exception, getting more compelling when they can be experienced with more senses at once: seen, heard, touched, smelled and maybe even tasted.

Sensory experiences can be further enriched by design. For instance, intentional accent lighting makes a water feature even more intriguing to watch, amplifying its effects. Pointing a light at the right spot can emphasize a flowing movement, or give more dimension to single drops when they splash.

Lit water jets.
Credit: RAW

appropriate sizing

Flowing water creates compelling sounds, constantly-changing forms, and interesting sensory stimuli regardless of size.

A smaller water feature can be just as effective as a bigger one and in some cases it is even more appropriate. Water makes quite a noise, and a big water feature could easily feel disturbing in a smaller space.

Thin water jets.
Credit: PWP + Dew

water without water

If real water has unique qualities, some of its features can be recalled with other materials: giving a sense of flow and movement, creating ripples, bubbles and other effects.

Especially when paired with lighting, these water-like applications can add a lot to a space, introducing an unexpected and lively feature.

Metal ceiling that looks like rippling water.
Credit: Wuji Studio

Water can add a lot to designed spaces: movement, sound, and a real element of life that, in turn, will transfer unique liveliness to the space.

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