When I first created this project it had no name. My professor and I would meet in a little booth in the back of a cafe and discuss how the project would go, the eight week schedule I would be working on it, and what kind of things had to be done to achieve the final result. I wanted to have the project be centered around connection and engaging strangers in conversation. I wanted it to break the barrier between people who know absolutely nothing about one another. Thinking back to real life situations, when we are put into a room with people we don’t know, conversations tend to begin with the aid of furniture. An empty seat means an open opportunity for conversation.
If you really think about what we center our conversations around, it’s the furniture in a room. A room with close knit chairs will lead to a conversation everyone can join in on. A room with just one love seat in the back will probably lead to an intimate conversation and usually be snatched away by lovers later in the night not to be disturbed. A comfortable couch will lend a hand to easy flowing dialog.
Furniture has a big impact on the way we view approachability. If someone is sitting in the middle of a bench, their approachability declines and they won’t be disturbed. If someone is sitting all the way over leaving the perfect “you” sized space – you might ask if you could join while waiting for the bus.
In the end, I wanted people to be comfortable and open up when talking to me. I thought about possible ways to do this, and I liked the idea of metaphorically inviting them into my “living room” by bringing my couch out with me. It got plenty of attention and a lot of people approached us which really surprised me.
So here’s a toast to the couch: bringing people together since whenever it was invented!