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BFA Design

Josefin Karlsson

Room against loneliness

As humans we have a basic need to feel connected, that we belong to a group and have a purpose. But what happens to us as we get older and the former social contexts become fewer? Today loneliness among elderly is a widespread problem and can be both chosen and non-voluntary. The recipients of this project are people aged 75 and up who experience non-voluntary loneliness.

To investigate whether design can help reduce involuntary loneliness in the elderly, I have developed a spatial concept that will get people who visit the space to interact with each other by creating new functions and a new flow in the room. A new way for people to move around the room which promote meetings. As an addition to the flow, furniture act as a bridge to start conversations as an extra tool to initiate contact. One of the furniture is a chair where the focus has been on the armrests, on these armrests small structures have been placed as a detail. These structures each have an opposite structure, which is meant to be possible to link together. Hopefully these will make it easier for users to initiate contact with each other when there are no words. The project has been portrayed in a hall for gatherings which today is used as a café combined with smaller exhibitions at Allégården in Gothenburg. Allégården is a building mainly used by a senior citizens association. In the café everyone is welcome regardless of age, the association sometimes exhibits items created in-house by associations members.

The project has revolved around two questions which are;

  • How can spatial design be used in a public space to contribute to a reduced sense of involuntary loneliness for the elderly?
  • How can different spatial functions help to promote meetings in a public space?