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  • 05.06.13

A Chair For Public Spaces, Built For Both Privacy And Chitchat

Can a chair promote personal privacy and social intimacy at the same time? Maybe.

It can be tough to find a bit of privacy in a common space–not take-off-your-pants-and-lounge-around-in-your-boxers privacy, mind you, but maybe work-on-a-spreadsheet privacy, or pretend-you’re-working-on-a-spreadsheet-while-playing-Angry-Birds privacy. But the Studio series chairs, by UNStudio for Offecct, offer a nuanced take on public seating environments–places like libraries, airport terminals, and offices.

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“The concept for the Studio series was to … incorporate a variety of spatial gestures with specific emphasis on versatility in communication,” designer Ben van Berkel explains. “The varied designs within the series cater for the needs and wishes of the individual in both public and private spaces.”


Connecting in a helix-like formation, the Studio chairs are fluidly positioned back to front, allowing people to sit close while facing separate ways. That might sound like a minor thing, but the arrangement enables a level of eyeline anonymity, except if you turn your head–and you’re instantly face to face.

The Studio chairs also have another, more unadvertised benefit. If you place several public seats facing the same way in a single row, people will always try to leave an empty chair of cushion between themselves and the nearest person. It seems reasonable that the Studio’s every-other arrangement might lead to more filled seats within the same space.

Imagine these chairs at an airport terminal. Sure, families might have a tougher time sitting “together,” but solo business travelers would pack in while still maintaining privacy.

See more here.

[Hat tip: dezeen]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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