Maxine Tong, SECTION 1488 [×]
This research project proposes ways of rethinking a hospitality environment after Coronavirus pandemic. As public venues are facing challenges to accommodate people and sociability, this research project explores how public spaces need to become more elastic and adaptable to the ‘new normal.’ This project is a critique of the value of café culture, post pandemic, and an exploration into adaptive spatial strategies through the redesign of a café. The research questions how can rethinking and adapting a program in the hospitality context affords a stronger sense of community, connectivity and belonging. Social distancing will be a condition to consider in the future, and social connectivity is now even more critical, especially for our sense of well-being.
This project explores ways to provide social connection where social interaction and well-being can be foregrounded, through rethinking ways of negotiating personal safety whilst also maintaining a café ambience and place for assembly.
Through techniques for non-physical and physical connection, the project has engaged in ways to incite connection and belonging. Through techniques explored at both micro and macro scales such as joinery, furniture, material arrangements and junctions, and spatial compositions such as frames, thresholds and boundaries.
The project is situated in my family owned café in Knoxfield, Ferntree Gully. The research draws from my Malaysian culture and explores ways of interweaving certain spatial qualities I have studied from the Kopitiams (coffee shops) in Malaysia where there is a strong communal dynamic and permeability between people and their environment. This research has informed an approach to rethinking the site and the interior as an environment and a place for the community – with a desire to support the need for social assembly whilst also addressing unprecedented social desires.