Applied design research

Atmospheric research is increasingly developing and establishing itself as a new interdisciplinary field. It encompasses a variety of topics, including the perception of visual and auditory stimuli in different environments, the role of architecture and design, and the relationship between atmosphere and emotional experience.

This project investigates the interplay between space and the dead body in bereavement situations in terms of atmospheres (Gernot Böhme, 1995) - a unique feature within previous atmospheric research, as in no other atmospheric setting is there a medium that tinges the space more strongly (cf. Böhme, 2013, p. 32) than in the bereavement room: the dead body.

The focus of this study is on various aspects of design that aim to create an atmosphere of farewell. Design measures from the fields of architecture, interior, lighting, sound and color design, and thanatology are tested in the field with relatives for their affective effect and redesigned in co-design processes.

The research work fills a research gap in atmospheric research as well as in design theory. The developed design-based method can be understood as a partial building block for the evidence-based analysis of atmospheres and extend it by the perspective of design. The work also provides a first proposal for conceptualizing the notion of atmosphere in design and shows the relevance of implementing the notion in the design discipline.

The work operates at the intersection of cultural studies research, empirical qualitative design research, and design anthropology. The research generates design knowledge about the production of farewell spheres, which can be applied in practice and in such a way contribute to supporting mourners in their coping with grief.

The following results are expected (2026): 

  • design recommendations for funeral situations (practical publication)

  •  a design-based method for the analysis of farewell spheres and related to this

  • a design-based conceptualization of the concept of atmosphere (dissertation or monograph).