We hear the use of the words ‘atmosphere’ and ‘ambience’ often when we discuss interior design, but what exactly do we mean by it? The first language we learn, before we can speak, is that of sensual and spatial experiences, we can sense where we are through feeling our own mood and presence – we sense the atmosphere.
Interior Designer magazine reports that the theme for DOMOTEX 2020, the trade fair for floor coverings, is ‘atmysphere’, focussing on the specific wellbeing enhancing aspects of where we live and work, and it’s worth exploring further.
Atmosphere is very much an architectural quality. Western architecture usually develops from the perspective with the building as something to be looked at, while Chinese architecture develops the idea that the building is something to be experienced from within.
To experience the atmosphere means to be touched by it, to feel it’s presence and mood, a multi-sensual experience, as we measure the qualities of a space using our own senses. We experience this when we walk in to a hotel room, or a cafe, and we can instantly think we are feeling comfortable, or at home in such a place.
The atmosphere in a lunch time cafe for example, would be quite different from say the atmosphere in a restaurant in the evening. The atmosphere can be more an emotion than a measurable quantity.
So what elements are involved in creating an atmosphere?
The materials used can convey warmth, cold, and a simple tactile sensation that can evoke memories and emotion. Different materials work together to complement and react to each other creating unique compositions.
The light we use in our spaces can affect the atmosphere dramatically. Without light, there is nothing, and the relationship between light, architecture, and interior design gives a space it’s characteristic mood. The function of light is to bring brightness in to a room, it can alter the perception of the space, giving spatial context, having an incredible impact on our mood.
Air is an essential atmospheric quality, working with our other senses to give us smells and temperature. It is the medium in which the atmosphere can be carried.
The matter of how sound is carried through a room becomes another piece in the puzzle. Every building and room has its own voice. Consider again the bustle of the lunch time coffee shop, voices, coffee machines spluttering, and the blast of cold air and street noise when the door is opened, versus the more sedate quality of an evening restaurant, voices quieter, more still.
Sound can evoke emotions and mood the same as smell and touch, the sonic sensual quality of an atmosphere. Specific sounds, and the acoustic effects of the room, can define particular places, times, and memories.
The most essential element is the people who inhabit these places, ourselves and others. We will all perceive the atmosphere of a place in different ways, depending on our own experiences, imaginations, and senses.
If you’re seeking experts in luxury interior architecture and wanting to enhance the atmosphere in your home, get in contact today.