OPEN CALL FOR images words atlas mnemosphere

Through this open call we invited you to contribute to a collective definition of “mnemosphere”, sharing images that describe your interpretation of this concept, starting from one or more of the central themes of the Mnemosphere Project: atmospheres of space, memory of places, atlas of emotions.

The Open Call is closed.

We received more than 400 contributions from all over the world and we are now proceeding with the analysis and the creation of atlases.

Online Exhibition

After the Open Call for Images, the research actions were dedicated to recognizing common threads running through the collected images: shared morphological elements (colour and shape), recurring themes as nature, remembrance, architecture, blurred atmospheres or abstract approaches. The images were firstly organized and arranged by the research team, denoting the spatial and atmospheric conformations of the subjects and environments depicted and considering the descriptions and concepts provided by the call participants. As a result of this, it was possible to define seven visual atlases, inspired by the work of Aby Warburg.

Additionally, regarding the concept of memory, it was possible to rearrange the images into four different visual atlases for the study of the main themes of: ‘individual memory’ (considering faces, human bodies, moments frozen in time, signs); ‘collective memory’ (were memory usually is placed in a specific space to be remembered such as memorials, monuments, rituality, ruins, cemeteries); ‘physical environment’ (the specific memory of places considering landscapes, rural and urban contexts, façades, interior or private spaces); ‘abstract dimension’ (considering abstract compositions with different iconic levels and made through different techniques).


Mnemosphere is a research project born within Politecnico di Milano (Italy), that aims to investigate the different ways in which the identity and memory of places can be designed and communicated through atmospheric spaces capable of stimulating emotions.

By bringing together the skills and tools offered by the culture of design and paying attention to both new languages and new technologies, the research aims to contribute to the understanding of the links between memory, exhibition spaces and emotions by creating tools and guidelines that could support the design of spaces that go beyond the traditional concept of memorial sites.

Mnemosphere therefore bases its approach on a synergistic collaboration between different disciplinary fields. The driving force of the research is the dialogue between the design of communication for the territory and the design of installations in the atmospheric dimension. The interdisciplinary nature of the research is then enriched with the study and analysis of emotions, colour perception, and the design of temporary spaces and services.

This research does not aim to give a single definition to the concept of “mnemosphere”, but intends to start from the intangibility of its substance and the plurality of voices it contains, in order to visualize and communicate it.

As the concept of mnemosphere cannot be described through a single definition, there are three themes that characterise it.

A temporary spatial condition between resonance and permeation – physical, cognitive, emotional – that involves the perceiving subject and the environment in a state of synchronicity. It is a phenomenon that occurs in space, characterizing it, and making the effects of experience permanent.

A specific site that embodies a collective shared knowledge and at the same time a more private and personal form of attachment. The memory of a place is a manifestation that triggers in the perceiving subject a living memory and a construction of meaning.

The entirety of nature and landscape of sensations, intensities and reactions related to the human lived experiences.


Take a peek inside our "mnemospheres"

Take a look to the mnemosphere videos!


ECAH 2021 - The European Conference on Arts & Humanities

Play Video

AIC 2021 - The Congress of the International Color Association


During the first workshop within the research group, the images were initially organized and arranged according to the atmospheric perspective related to spaces and places, considering also the descriptions and concepts given by the call participants. The clusters inherent to this section were set up in advance as reference macro-categories: “air”, “bubble”, “diaphragm”, “haze”, “colorful”, “nets” and “void”. Subsequently, within each macro-area, more defined clusters of images were identified, acting as thematic sub-categories. Then, this information was translated into more precise spatial conformations and morphological elements, identifying the main features of each atlas. The recurring themes emerging from these atlases are natural landscapes, portraits and period photographs, architecture, ruins, blurred atmospheres, and abstract visualizations.

The second internal workshop aimed to arrange the atlases from the perspective of memory. Four additional thematic clusters were obtained, which arose spontaneously mainly during the textual analysis of the descriptions given by the participants, and subsequently, the visual analysis of the images was performed. The thematic clusters refer to the following concepts within which additional subclusters and red threads could be identified as follow: “individual memory”, in which people’s faces, bodies, animals, portraits, frozen moments and instants, signs, and symbols of different kinds mainly appear; “collective memory”, consisting of memorials, monuments, ruins, cemeteries and landmarks; “physical environment”, linked to pictures of anonymous places charged with their narrative, wild natural landscapes, generic urban contexts, and domestic or private interiors; “abstract dimension”, i.e. images constructed using different artistic techniques, characterized by vivid and saturated colours aimed at emphasizing the emotional impact of external places through internal emotional tones only.

Here are some pictures documenting the offiline research activities, waiting to organize the third and last workshop from the emotions perspective.


Marta Elisa Cecchi

Exhibition Designer

Ambra Borin

Interior-Spatial Designer

Clorinda Sissi Galasso

Communication Designer

Claudia Mastrantoni

Interior Designer

Ingrid Calvo Ivanovic

Colour Designer

Martina Scagnoli

Industrial Designer

This call is part of the Mnemosphere research project, born thanks to the MiniFARB 2020 grant, promoted by the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano, involving PhD students and Research fellows.

We inform you that the completion of the survey via the Typeform platform involves the processing of personal data. Your data, in particular data concerning name, age, nationality, occupation and personal e-mail contact will be processed by specifically authorized persons. However, please note that, for no reason, the data will be processed by authorized personnel with the aim of merely identifying the participant.

Personal data, without identification data, may also be communicated to third parties for research purposes. The data relating to names will only be published if it is necessary to recognize the authorship of the images selected (credits), while the use of the data for scientific publications, statistics and scientific conferences relating to research will be treated anonymously.