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Working in a thermal bubble (Carlo Ratti Associati).

A personalised heating, cooling and lighting system which follows each worker as he moves around the office: Carlo Ratti Associati turns the environment of the Agnelli Foundation’s headquarters in Turin in a “tailor-made” workspace, capable to synchronised to its users’ need and limit energy waste.

Carlo Ratti Associati has made the research in the Internet-of-Things (IoT) the core of their design: from the Local Warming at the Biennale di Venezia 2014 and the at the Dubai’s Museum of Future Government Services in 2015, to the Future Food District at the EXPO 2015.
The thermal and lighting bubble projected for the Agnelli Foundation’s headquarters in Turin (Italy), brings the IoT further into a more sustainable architecture and taking one of the key concept of the contemporary office interior design, flexibility, also into not tangible, but important environmental feature, such as humidity or light.
“Today, a lot of energy is wasted heating or cooling empty buildings”, says professor Carlo Ratti. “By synchronizing energy usage and human occupancy within buildings we can create a more sustainable and responsive architecture, theoretically slashing energy consumption by up to 40%.”

The system uses sensors to collect datas from the environment, such as CO2 concentration, temperature or the number of occupants in the room. Than it processes these datas in a BMS system that respond adjusting the lighting, the heating, the level of the cooling system and also managing the usage of the different rooms.
The personalisation of the systems allows every worker to set his own preferred temperature through a smartphone app. So when anyone enters the room a thermal bubble follows him activating fan coil units, situated in the false ceilings, and recreating his chosen environmental conditions. When an occupant leaves, the room returns naturally to standby.
Text by Gabriele Masi.

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