Generative Processes in Architecture and Urbanism

Social Circles

This design proposal revolves around the idea of ‘social circles’, creating an urban furniture installation that allows people to become aware of the boundaries and interaction possibilities around their personal space. The proposal aims to create spaces where strangers can meet for the first time, or longtime friends can create a private conversation spaces for themselves.

It plays upon the notion of ‘shifting boundaries’ around people and small groups, dynamic territories of single or combined personal spaces that are changing over time. At the scale of a public space within the city, this dynamic field of shifting interactions is like a boardgame, with many possible connections
that switch on and off and create temporary clusters and ever changing hierarchies.

The installation is constructed out of nine rotating chairs that are placed in a porous urban cluster with several different areas of varying character.

The chairs are anchored by floor panels which combined form a low, walkable floor surface. The chairs are of a minimalist design so they do not distract from the larger composition. In between the floor panels are electronic light strips that display the ‘social boundaries’ of the configuration of the chairs.

The users can freely choose how to rotate the chairs to create different social situations: interacting with other people in small or medium groups or shifting oneself away
from confrontation towards a more private orientation.

The light boundary changes when the chairs are rotated, showing the openings of visual and social communication and boundaries around the backs of the chairs.

The installation becomes an ever changing dynamic graphic at the scale of the larger space that the installation occupies, creating an intriguing architectural element that engages with the social dynamics of the surroundings in which the installation is placed.

Design by Jeroen van Ameijde / Urban Systems Office
Chengdu ‘Humanism’ Installation Proposal, August 2015