Friday, February 25, 2011

Personal Space in Design

In Robert Sommer’s Personal Space: The Behavioral Basis of Design, he talks about the studies performed to see if “certain attitudes (cooperation, competition or separate action) affects the way people arrange themselves at a table or certain area”. He defines a group as “a face to face aggregation of individuals who have some shared purpose of being together”. In my situation the shared purpose is to have a dinner for the eradication of hunger. Sommer’s performed many studies that involved different groups of people, different types of tables, and different situations. The group of people I imagine at the dinner would be a group of family or friends, so the interactions would be casual and comfortable.

I created a table that was long and rectangular, and it can expand in the middle to accommodate more people and be more comfortable. After reading about Sommer’s experiments I am very pleased that I designed the table this way. Sitting so many people automatically limits the range of conversation at the table because the table has to be so large. However, having two people sit at the ends instead of one, helps increase the amount of interactions that can take place. According to the studies, people at rectangular tables have best conversation with the individual across from them. Sommer’s talk about the spacing that each person should have in order to feel more comfortable; this is important because if the people feel to cramped then it would not be a pleasant experience. The amount of space differs with each culture, so it is always important to take spacing into consideration wherever the dining space may be.