Sommer's work on table seating & communications

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Sommer’s work on table seating & communications

Robert Sommer tried to find out what was possible relationshipbetween furniture and conversations. Looking for a natural example that offered a number of different situations in which people could be seen talking, Sommer selected the cafeteria’s hospital scenario,where tables 1 x 1.80 meters were used for six people. As is shown in the Fig these tables provided six different distances and orientations for the relationship between the different persons.

|F-A|Angle position |
|C-B |Next to each other |
|C-D |Through the table|
|E-A |From one extreme to another |
|E-F |Diagonally across the table|
|C-F |Diagonally across the table |

Fifty observation sessions revealed that FA (via the corner) were two times more common to haveconversations than type CB (side to side), that at the same time CB were three times more common than CD rate (through the table). Sommer did not observe conversations in the other positions

The influence of seating on attitude
This example shows the preference of the people to have a conversation respect to their place on the table. So, the places where the people sit usuallyhave a close relation with their attitude to the other people.

Personal contact: the angle position (E-D or E-C)
This position is the most chosen to have a pleasant and informal conversation....
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