Inspiration from the in-between; on the ownership of space

In much the same way that architects and planners have begun to value in-between spaces as opportunities to insert private, reflective eddies into physical spaces. The creators of applications for mobile technologies have begun to actively exploit the ways in which ambient technologies function to interpenetrate time, space and practice.

The in-between spaces of the built environment tend to be private enclaves carved out of the public arena. They are most often found in once disused and often ‘un-loved’ corners of the public domain, and more often than not they punctuate the pathways between important public venues. As such they function as opportunistic stopping points between centres of organised, collective activity.

Arguably it is the advent of mobile computing that has raised their profile, for in the presence of ambient technology these way stations become an office, a study, a consulting room, a design studio and much more. The paradox is – that in creating these eddies, we return to the once privileged spaces and find them wanting. Maybe it is time to rethink our relationship with the formally defined work-space. To move from a model in which territorial ownership regardless of need, gives way to a model which offers inhabitants the freedom to select according to activity-based needs?

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2 thoughts on “Inspiration from the in-between; on the ownership of space

  1. I love the Apple stores… when walking passed one recently, I observed the central area abuzz with clients and staff leaning over work stations deeply engrossed in discussing whatever …. but all along the glass front of the shop, close to ground level, I saw so many people sitting and lying on the floor, plugged in for a quick charge of their electronic devices; never missing a beat on staying connected. What a great use of usable space 🙂

    1. I love them too – from a design perspective they are crisp and when they are full of messy people lying about, the effect is less so. Then I think about the fact that people felt welcome to come in, the space met a need (charging) and the curators of the space (staff) didn’t chuck them out – what does that say about their culture? I’m the first to have to check the urge for order when visual mess gets in the way, to ask for stillness when all about me is action but I’m beginning to see how life and learning are often found in the mess, and if we insist on still, calm, order we not only miss out – but we limit the variety which gives rise to moments of insight, creativity and community?

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