PROXEMIA: THE STUDY THAT INFLUENCES DESIGN

By Roxane KANDELL

Project conceptor at ISSADESIGN

A few days have passed since the end of the Circuit Index-Design, an event in which we participated as an exhibitor for the first time. It is under the theme of interaction that discussions and conferences have been orchestrated. During these 3 days, we unveiled, among others, our design process by the presence of 6 of our achievements of which we are very proud. It was with my colleague Florence Goulet-Pelletier that I had the chance to present our vision of design by questioning the interlocutors on the possible relations between humans and their environment.


The environment around us is usually planned to direct our interactions with where we are or with our users. For example, positioning chairs in a living room or lounge can invite conversation, as well as isolating yourself in a book, a movie, or talking on the phone. Edward T. Hall is an American anthropologist and cross-cultural specialist who studies the physical distances between people engaged in an interaction in a given culture and their patterns of use in space. This study is called proxemia.


Take the example of our "bubble". Who has never found that his neighbor was too close to our bubble; that he invaded us?


Depending on our culture and habits, our bubble varies from one person to another or even from one place to another. It is not uncommon to feel more invaded by one person than another at the same distance or to accept a short distance with a stranger in a subway car, for example. This phenomenon is reflected mainly in environmental design or the development of a place where each culture has an interpretation of the space of its own.


In addition to the cultural component, the distances at which proxemia is based vary according to the type of relationship or interaction between people.


For the event, we placed on the ground black circles representing different physical distances during interactions between individuals. We invited the participants to take their place on these vignettes, then asked them about their degree of comfort towards other people, according to the selected area.



There are four spheres of comfort distances between people who interact together;

  1. Intimate sphere (15 to 60 cm), for example, a discussion with a close friend or a lover.

  2. Personal Sphere (45 to 120 cm), for example, two people talking in a bar

  3. Social sphere (120 to 300 cm), for example, two people who exchange during a rally between colleagues.

  4. Public sphere (300 to 750 cm), for example, the distance between a speaker and her interlocutor.


The transition from one sphere to another is marked by sensory modifications of people related to their ease in relation to space.



After explaining that our vision of design connects humans and their environment by respecting their culture and taking into account their interpersonal relationships; we invited speakers to present their own vision of design by drawing or writing on one of the white board, forming a giant mosaic.

  • Noir Facebook Icône
  • Noir Icône Instagram
  • Noir LinkedIn Icône
  • Noir Pinterest Icône