Use Of Spaces To Elevate Experiences Cultural Studies Essay

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I believe spaces should elevate our experiences and be a phenomenological trigger, giving one a sense of being present, being alive, being part of the changing world, and being part of our evanescent human existence. An environment should provoke positive energy, spiritual well being, but most importantly spaces should give us an emotional lift, be it fulgent, fervid, or peaceful. The only thing that draws me to shop today, to enjoy a restaurant, to do my banking, to browse, to spend time in a museum or office, is a space that is inspiring and seamless. The only factor that warrants travel, second to nature and human culture, is architecture and space.

For me this statement speaks of spaces being an integral part in defining peoples lifestyle. It speaks of a spaces a source of comfort and art, where each space may be treated differently whether conventional (traditional) or unconventional (contemporary) but it should be both aesthetically pleasing and exciting to the senses or functionally comfortable and workable according to peoples psychology.

This statement is the first step in defining any space whether it is conventional or unconventional design. I believe that in the ever changing world it is difficult to decide which design philosophy for a space is more favorable to people. Most people wish for a conventional design in a space while others expect a more unconventional and new solutions for a space. Sometimes it also a necessary factor to enhance the overall functionality and aesthetics of a space. Each of these philosophies has their own merit which helps in bringing out a kind of space that has its own unique experiential quality.

A conventional space is in accordance with an accepted manner, model, or tradition, represented in a generalized or simplified manner (2). It is most of the time followed due to its tried and tested method, because weve seen and applied it all our lives. These designs follow a certain guideline for a type of space and turn up spaces that are similar in nature. While reading about conventional methods of design I can see the strong roots of design which through different experimentation and ergonomics requirement have come to form a strong guideline for designer to create functional successful and aesthetically tasteful interiors. Although it can be argued that with the change in technology and recent design philosophy many find the conventional design methodology impersonal to their needs and taste. Not only have that but the peoples constant thirst for change I can only find that many deviated to a more unconventional method of designing. Conventional design is approached with a single mindedness. The designer must focus attention on each of the items in order, to create the ideal design. Steps are taken in creating a smooth design.

Themes of conventional interior design vary from traditional to modernistic, from eclectic to even retro. The decision of theme should in my opinion be left entirely up to the individual designer.

An unconventional space is defined by its individual experience characteristics. This proves to show that not all spaces of the same category for example corporate design are alike. Not only does the space cater to the individual need of the type of design, that is not all restaurant or offices are designed in similar way, but it also provides an opportunity to the designer to create a space which breaks all or many norms or preconceived notions of what a space should look like. The space layout largely depends on the type of location you choose and on the type of function of the space. The uniqueness of the space could give a distinctive advantage in the way you market your function.

My aim is to study the two approaches, their aesthetic and functional success and the psychological impact on a person. The reason for my dissertation is that living in Pakistan one would say that there are very few places for entertainment and the only one that exist are in the food sector. So for people, shopping malls, restaurants, their homes and offices are pretty much the extent of spaces they could enjoy and these spaces are their sources which evoke feelings and inspiration

In this dissertation I will provide an analysis of how the two design methods conventional and unconventional affect the space and the people in regard with aesthetics and function in a corporate design and hospitality design. This is divided into four parts. Firstly it establishes the meaning of conventional design, its pros and cons related to the aesthetic and functionality in relation to corporate and hospitality design. Second local and international conventional design projects within the two types of spaces are analyzed.

These projects are divided into two categories international and local projects. Within local project the office project is PICIC Insurance Company in Glass tower and the restaurant project is Baan Thai which will be in comparison to the unconventional restaurant Fuchsia in Zamzama.

Third it defines an unconventional design and its pros and cons in relation to office and restaurant design. Fourth local and international projects are analyzed with respect to the aesthetics and function. Which include in local projects, the Crossby Office by Moyena Niazi, Purple haze and Fuchsia Thai restaurant? And within international projects I will analyze Google Office, blue Frog restaurant in India and la Gare restaurant.

The analysis helps in defining Conventional design as a way a space designed by tried and tested to the extent that it provides us with guidelines that sometimes work beautifully both aesthetically and functionally for a given space type. It is comfortable in the sense that it is a familiar experience. While an unconventional design has design rules but I find that each and every space is a new experience. The local project for both conventional and unconventional design is analyzed in context to the local contemporary interior design.


Conventional design method is strictly the most solid foundation for a designer to create a successful functional and aesthetical environment

in the book open plan offices conducts by kraemer, sieverts and partner the authors conducted an enquiry into open plan office in Germany to allow to understand the advantages and disadvantages of an open plan and to remove the misconception of certain critics as to what actually is an open plan office. In the introduction the authors state many of the characteristics of a conventional box type office and the conventional open plan offices. For example while considering a conventional box type office the following pros and cons can be established:

For a box type space the difficulties are:

It takes up a lot of floor space

Communication more difficult

Makes the space look more clustered

The advantages:

There is Privacy.

Noise and other disturbances are less due to enclosed space

To and fro movement of employees is not disturbed

It also continues at to explain what often wrongly called an open plan design, where a large room over crowded by many employees is considered as an open plan which is incorrect for it is only a space filled with people and not for the people.

A conventional open plan is then stated to have the following characteristics


There are too many people in the room and they interfere with each other

There is always a feeling of being under observation

People coming and going always see and hear everything, no confidentiality

And advantages

It is flexible

Equal working conditions to all

Circulation is changeable

The rest of the chapters elaborate the enquiry done by the authors as to which factors determine a successful open plan design.

For example the room size governed the design of the space in relation to the space required by each employee, by how close they were seated. The ceiling height is closely linked with acoustics of the space, the screening of work stations and the staff density. While reading I also found office organization requires the utmost importance while designing. For example sections which work together needs to be in close proximity, such areas should be centrally placed if most visited.

With a conventional office I found that a designer can easily categories aesthetic and functions, by following the basic rules in deigning offices which have proved to be a solid foundation for many designers. But just as easily the guideline help in designing an office, they also become impersonal in some cases to the type of company or offices they have been implemented on. We see a major disadvantage in finding to different corporate offices being treated or designed in similar fashion and not in accordance to the type of corporate office. Thus making the working experience for some a great treat and for others a massive annoyance. Because not all guidelines work similarly for every and any office.

On the site it summarizes some of the new research in office ergonomics. The site explains misinformation persists due to the ignorance, mass agreement lack of scientific developments. It explains the disadvantage of conventional ergonomics and persists on the recent developments.

There are examples of conventional ergonomic wisdom that are being disproven. It encourages variety and movement rather than an exact posture.

For conventional monitor distance 18-24 inches away were claimed to be appropriate which is proven wrong because the best distance is "as far away as possible while still being able to read it clearly." Longer distances relax the eyes. The conventional 18-24 inch recommendation is unnecessarily close. For conventional keyboard distance, it should be at the front of the work surface. This is limiting. Pushing the keyboard back farther if the forearms are supported that is the wrist is kept straight and the elbows aren't resting on anything hard or sharp is considered better.

The chair should be at a height that allows the feet to reach the floor when the legs are at 90 degrees. The ninety-degree knee posture is not "correct" ergonomics although it is not a harmful position. The legs should move very often, not stay fixed in the ninety degree position. The chair should, if possible, be low --- low enough for the feet to rest on the floor, even when extended.

However, if the chair is at a good height but the keyboard height can't be adjusted to elbow height or lower, then it's necessary to adjust the chair upwards. In this case, a footrest is an option.

Also a great deal of research supports the idea of a much wider hip angle -with one hundred thirty degrees or so as an "optimum" angle. The reason is that when the hips are straightened, the vertebrae of the lower spine are aligned with each other in a way that reduces and evens out pressure on the intervertebral discs. Further, sitting upright is less desirable than reclining. When reclining, the lower back muscles work less and the spine supports less weight, since body weight is held up by the chair's backrest.

On the same site the characteristics of a conventional restaurant are discussed. All which is explained in the chapter conventional design.

For international project the site interior explains that

Gisue and Mojgan Hariri is designed in a manner which is simplistic in its open plan design yet with certain elements such as the elevated floor plane and the full length windows give a lighter feeling to the space. It also states that it gives a feeling of stability in the space due to its conventional aesthetics and function

The space was designed to attract creative employees and induce them to work ever longer hours. "The CEO said to make it so nice that no one would want to go home," Mojgan Hariri reports. "

Another requirement was to increase interaction between four divisions of employees .Bright shades and tints of white, silver, gray, and some taupe are punctuated by dark weng. "We used color more as an accent, for energy in specific areas," Mojgan Hariri explains. Between this open area and a row of private offices and meeting rooms runs a long freestanding volume containing two additional offices, the kitchen, the copy and supply room, and the research center, laid out one after the next. Only the ends of this volume are opaque, veneered in weng; both sides are sliding glass doors.


The Google offices were designed by Swedish Architecture firm, Camenzind Evolution. When beginning to design the office, it was learned that the employees wished to maintain a small-company atmosphere and leave a Swedish fingerprint on the space, all while combining several Swedish offices into a centralized location for engineers and the marketing and sales divisions.

The conference rooms are themed with famous Swedish inventors like Linne, Ericsson, Nobel, and Bohlin. Several of the other rooms have unique themes as well. Google just seems like a fun company to work for, and this office doesnt change that belief in the slightest. Plenty of places to play on different games, a great looking kitchen area, and of course many places to lounge make this Google office one of the best.


In the book the 21st century office by Jeremy Myerson and Philip Ross the author describes an unconventional office on the other hand can be anything and everything. But it is particular in mastering four basic features:





The narrative represents office design no longer as blank boxes of work, they tell a story about the company and its brand.

The nodal office is a response to hierarchical importance in a workspace.

The neighborly office is a reaction against command and control office, it inclines towards interactive spaces

The nomadic offices are geographically disturbed workspaces. Spaces which are inappropriate for an area or sector.



On the site the Googles offices described as a place that definitely looks very different from what is usually seen in offices. It falls into the category of narrative workspaces. The office looks very adventurous. The playful style just matches the rest of the place. Theres something fundamentally bold in that office. The use of color, creating different theme spaces, it gives the spark to the creativity of the company.

Positive aspects:

For a 24\7 workspace it becomes both the working and the entertainment zone.

The adventurous elements like the slide and scooty provide a new office circulation method.

Energizes the employee with creative working pods enough to be interactive as well as private.

Different creative zones are created to link the aspect of world wide web with the interior of the space.

Negative aspects:

Issues of excessive interaction, high noise levels are there.

Sometimes the creative zone become a distractive element

The design of workstations is considered by some as closed work shells

Some of the staff prefer a totally open cubical where they see and hear everything, having been in one which they had closed cubical. I disagree with that and think it could possibly be a reaction and that being in an open environment with all those visual and noise distractions around would cause great discomfort and reduced levels of focusing.



By: Design Option

Moyena Niazi and Khadija tul Kubra

Design approach:

IN THE PAMPHELET IDENTITY the office is described as the space that signifies the importance of the largest market in the world. Drawing inspiration from Asian south eastern culture and the local bazaar the ambiance of a street was implemented. The idea of narrow alleys shaded and opens to light areas which were translated in the design by the use of paper and jute. The open plan design is demarcated through partition walls which open up in corridors. The whole idea was to bring the open bazaar feeling where with narrow alleys, light and shaded areas and a central courtyard space as the connecting element. The richness of the Asian culture was suggested as the design theme. Says Mona Niazi.

Positive aspect:

Aesthetically pleasing the welcoming and hospitable ambiance gives comfort to the employees and the clients.

The open plan along with the use of windows removes rigid formality from the office environment




On the site www.dezeen .com The Blue Frog is described as an acoustic lounge and studios in Mumbai, India. The lounge is used as a music venue within a complex of sound recording studios in a converted warehouse and incorporates a restaurant, bar and lives music stage. The different sized cylindrical booths seat between 4 and 10 people and are arranged at various heights to for a fluid eye movement also for the better view at different levels for seated diners and standing customers, intended to afford uninterrupted views of the stage.

A large north-lit industrial warehouse within the old mill district in Mumbai based on a desire to have it all, feels more aquatic. The metaphor of bobbing on the sea, possibility of staggered vertical separation by water surface gives a dynamic to space. Some moody iridescent copper instead of acrylic, water surface mediates between hyperactive stage lighting/throbbing and kitchen fires/persistence of fluorescence.(4)

It is to me an unconventional design because it breaks away from the idea of individual table layout instead it is a composition of booths that give an ambiance of the ocean waves. The soft lighting creates the mood of the space along with the music. The walls are claded with a soft material to help with better acoustics.

Positive aspects:

It has a uniform theme that is dynamic and undulating

It creates a very soothing ambiance

The booths at different levels give a clear visual of the music area

Its a fine dining restaurant that promotes a sophisticated ambiance.

One resembling like this could be found in Pakistan. It is situated at Tauheed Commercial Street 5, DHA Karachi.


By Ismaele Morrone

In the book Commercial spaces by Arco editorial it explains the interior of the space, which is completely detached from its existing space. It is located right underneath Milans central railway station. The space is divided up into three clearly defined areas separated by thick load bearing walls. The project was treated as one whole space. It is dynamic and leisurely.

the interior space is completely black to annual its physical presence, states Ismaele Morrone. The wall, ceiling and floor are all black so that the outline of the space becomes vague.

The use of angles and intense color of red, blue and yellow proposes a different guideline of the space. This use of color also demarcates three spaces, the restaurant, the bar and the discotheque. The excessive style animates the space by bringing the most exaggerated forms that end up being the most functional.

Positive aspects:

The use of color clearly states the demarcation of the space which is easily connected visually through form and color

The use of this excessive style gives individuality to the space that helps in the function of the space.

Customers spend more time exploring each space and thus spend more time within the space.

The exaggerated forms give dynamic to the space.

The design describe the function and becomes the function

Negative aspect:

The bold use of color becomes overpowering and to some uncomfortable.

The odd angles create spaces which are then concealed with excessive seating

A lot of the space is wasted in incorporating the design


Purple Haze

By: Fathma Amir on the site is described as one of the most hip and happening space. With its cool ambiance and the use of lighted booths inspired from blue from the restaurant in India and loft spaces the space created a cool cave like environment in the basement space.

It is situated at Tauheed Commercial Street 5, DHA Karachi. The atmosphere at Purple Haze can be described as nothing short of classy. Dim purple lights, comfortable cushioned cubicles within a maze lit up in purple, a bar that rests on bronze sculptures. All this makes the place look very hip and happening.