What is a social space?

The term covers all manner of spaces, from public spaces like airports, community centres and parks, through to private spaces like cafes, restaurants and workplaces.

A social space is a virtual or physical space where people gather and interact. To break it down, within each of these establishments mentioned above, the ‘social spaces’ are areas that have been designed to optimize and promote human and social interaction.

It can be a hotel lobby space, or an office reception. The communal bar leaner in the café designed for those eating alone or waiting for their takeaway order. Or the breakout meeting space in a workplace where colleagues can step away from their usual tasks and immerse themselves in a collaborative project.

Quite often the purpose of a social space, or how the space is intended to be used, is implied and depicted through the fit out and furniture choices. As mentioned above, a bar leaner or collaborative leaner is a great visual indicator of a space more transitional or activity based. A soft lounge or depicts a space for dwelling, relaxing or waiting and creates a feeling of comfort. In an airport the purpose of each space is clearly identified and different zones created with furniture and flooring layouts, clearing demarking the areas for
people flow and the more “social space” zones for waiting.

When it comes to choosing finishes and furniture for social spaces, don’t miss the opportunity to inject life, personality and vibrancy into the space. Be guided by who you want to use it, how you want them to feel while in the space, and what’s the outcome or purpose of the space?

Left to right: Life Church (Material Creative), Southern Cross Healthcare (STACK Interiors), Waikato University (Designwell)and Nelson Airport (Studio Pacific).

Explore our social space projects for inspiration.
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