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Design Research, Visual Interpretation, Publication Design, Type Design, Exhibition Design, Video Production. 

Understanding Atmospheres

Atmosphere can be briefly described as the sensitivity associated with feeling where we are at a particular point. It sets a kind of underlying tone, that colours all other moods that arise in us or dog us. This basic mood is something that we are as a rule not aware of, but which has an exceptional importance, even if it is played down, repressed, and thus unconscious, to the extent that it can have a psychosomatic impact through the tone of the mindful body.

In linguistics, the word atmosphere is almost always pre- or post-modified, and these functional slots are led with a large variety of types of words and phrases. This suggests that the word invokes a sense that is relatively semantically empty or vacuous, denoting an emotional or ambient space that requires speculation or filling in with the intended ambient quality. Almost all non-literal usages feature atmosphere as pertaining to a place or a located event: a room, building, location, classroom, party, sports event, and so on. It is clear that there is a strong spatial and locative element to its meaning. The term appears frequently in advertising discourse (‘pub atmosphere’, ‘relaxed atmosphere’, ‘happy family atmosphere’) and political journalism (‘atmosphere of the House’, ‘intimidating atmosphere’ ‘atmosphere of pressure’).

In literature, mood is the feeling created in the reader. This feeling is the result of both the tone and atmosphere of the story… Atmosphere is the aura of mood that surrounds the story. It is to action what the sensory level is to poetry. Mood is established in order to affect the reader emotionally and psychologically and to provide a feeling for the narrative.

Interest in sensory atmospheres and architectural, design, artistic, and urban ambiances has been growing for over 30 years. A key figure in this field is German philosopher Gernot Böhme whose influential works, which attempt to address the concept of atmospheres through theory, have been of exceptional relevance to this project.

The theory of atmospheres as an aesthetic theory reveals the theatrical, not to say manipulative, character of politics, commerce, of the event-society. But, it also offers new perspectives on architecture, design, and art. It made the spatial and the experience of space and places a central subject and hence rehabilitated the ephemeral in the arts. Taking its numerous impacts in many fields together, it initiated a new humanism: the individual as a living person and their perspective are taken seriously, and this fosters the ongoing democratization of culture, in particular the possibility for everybody to participate in art and its works.

Understanding Atmospheres was created with the idea of highlighting a particular way of aesthetic thinking. Although only briefly described in the project, the theory of atmospheres provides a comprehensive understanding of our contemporary world and how our thoughts and means (our psychological) are, via our own sensitivity, affected by what we perceive from the world out there which can be natual, organic, or a product of today’s society. All the content shown here has been created and put together based on this idea and they form the result of a research process on the topic of atmospheres, which mixes theoretical forms and personal experiences through the practise of Communication Design.

A Tumblr page has also been created to host iterations and possible outcomes of the project. This Tumblr page is linked to an anonymous survey which gathers public opinion on the topic of atmospheres to be used in the project. To view it click HERE.

On Beauty, The Aesthetics of Atmosphere is the main piece of work of the project. It’s a publication which prensents the entire project and its explorations in separate chapters.


A 3D visualisation of the diagram of Atmosphere is an installation that materialises a chart presented by Suriano Mathew’s study ‘On Architecture of Atmosphere’ (2012).

There’s No Way of Knowing it is a short film piece created with the idea of visualising an imagined situation in which a person can experience varios feelings as they walk through different spaces and react to what they see according to what is in their mind or to how their mood is. A narrative was produced for this piece. In it, the protagonist, who seems to be experiencing a bad day, tries to look for a place where she can be by herself, away from whatever is going on with her.  She ends up finding some unexpected things as she wanders around a carpark.

Some moods of an A is the exploration of atmospheres in typography through a brief, and non comprehensive, demosntration of how the letter A can be visualised in reference to the different moods of contextual works it might be employed in. The visual interpretation of each letter is objective.

Atmosphere Regular is a typeface created to be used as part of the project’s identity.