The Perfect Space / Schultze + Grassov
The general rules all over the world
People are the same all over the world. Therefore, there are some general rules of thumb for creating and planning a space. The location and function of furnishings is quite central and should promote flexibility, according to Louise Grassov, owner of the architectural firm SCHULZE + GRASSOV.
A chair that can rotate. Be moved out into the sun or into the shade. A chair with a backrest. Or without. There are many details to think about when creating and planning the perfect space. And the furniture is an important detail, explains Louise Grassov, architect and owner of the architectural firm SCHULZE + GRASSOV.
“The furniture often needs to serve more than one function. It needs to be flexible. Children and young people like to sit on something without a backrest, while older people prefer having support for their backs. People should also be able to influence their surroundings; move a chair out into the sun or turn a chair around so they can see one another. Spaces that invite people to leave their own mark by moving the furniture around are often very popular” explains Louise Grassov, who is an expert in creating urban environments, where human oases are important elements, regardless of whether they are at a university, in a town square or at a train station.
When Louise Grassov designs a space, it is important to think about the person who will be using it. For people are the same no matter where you are in the world.
If you look at how we receive our stimuli, almost 75 per cent comes through our eyes and beyond this, through what we can smell, feel and hear. Consequently, our experience of a space tends to be quite similar:
“So when start designing a space, we need to understand where we as humans feel comfortable: How large or small should the space be? How close to others do we like to be? There are some very basic parameters, and they are changing all the time. For example, if you are standing alone at a train station and a stranger comes and stands right up next to you, this is crossing the line. However, if the train station is very congested and a stranger comes and stands near you, then it’s okay. The parameters for what we like change according to the context we are in,” says Louise Grassov, who goes on to explain that it is a matter of perceiving the intention of the space.
Public spaces and the special challenges
Public spaces come with their own special challenges. The space should provide a good overview and it should always be possible to have something behind you as support. This gives peace of mind and invites the user to explore the space.
“People rarely just stand around in the middle of a space. If you want to sit and read a newspaper or if you’re waiting for someone, then the edges become absolutely crucial. It is basic human psychology; nobody likes to stand on display out in the open. A well-planned space creates a setting where people can seek out the fringe areas – the safe zone – as well as where something can happen in the centre. At the same time, the furniture out on the edge should be positioned so that people can see each other,” explains Louise Grassov.