”Personal Space” is a 185 cm long bench with two seats that can either be separated or shoved close together. The bench is inspired by Edward T. Hall’s Proxemics study describing how physical spaces affect communication, behavior and social interaction. With this project, I would like to challenge how we are thinking of a piece of furniture and what is expected of it. The theme of my project is addressing social and cultural norms. While the individual needs of intimacy may be obvious for most people, many don’t think about what is natural or cultural. The aim of this project is not to educate or ask for a change in behavior ,but to make people reflect upon this in a playful way.
What was once written as a critic of Scandinavian rural societies has become a cultural norm for the Scandinavian countries. The essence of “Janteloven” is about putting society above the individual. While many think of “ Janteloven “negatively, because its repressing the individual, some think it can be something positive because it promotes equal rights and keeps the “elite” from thinking they are better than the rest. In this context the “personal space” bench is impartial. While the bench may encourage you to sit closer to the person beside you, it also let you choose not to. Its ok if you want to slide away and be by yourself.