With Steelcase Health, we observed how families gather, share and create community space in waiting room environments. We discovered they often have to overcome a lineup of chairs, located along the perimeter wall, which discourages meaningful connection and does not in any way personal control of space and place. Also, people do not simply "sit" in these places - they eat, sleep, work, mourn, play games, etc. Neighbor was designed to offers chairs, tables and couches that foster connection, and provide a level of privacy.
Some foundational questions were the basis for the reseach phase:
How do we define a public space?
How much of comfort is contextual?
What do people actually do in these places?
Is the designation ‘waiting area’ an appropriate one, or is it more complex?
What role does the seat play in the total experience of the ‘wait?’
What role does the seat play in the context of the other furniture in the space, and what should these other elements be and do?
If context is so critical, is comfort less so in high context spaces?
What role does the furniture play relative to the anxiety of the situation?