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Chapter 5. Official Space > Shaping Process

Shaping Process

At work, at home, in a restaurant, or in a classroom, physical space shapes what happens and can happen among people. At a long banquet table you may be able to converse with a couple of people on either side and a few across from you, but it's not likely that you'll be able to carry on a meaningful exchange with anyone clear down on the other end. King Arthur made his table round as a statement about equality. It also made it easier for all the knights to talk with each other.

How buildings or offices are designed and furnished can have a powerful effect on communication and collaboration. I once lived in an apartment building for two full years but met few of the neighbors. The entryway of the building was a tiny little airlock, barely big enough for one person and a bag of groceries; the halls were narrow, dark, and sterile. There was simply no place for people to bump into each other, no place for serendipitous interaction.


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