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MESA - Support for solo dining

Mesa is a restaurant fixture that improves the experience of urban solo diners. Eating alone is a growing problem, especially in urban societies. Mesa welcomes solo diners back to restaurants by creating an enjoyable and comfortable dining experience.

Project Type /

Thesis Project

Institution /

Parsons School of Design

Year /

2019

Skills practiced /

Problem solving

Experience design

BACKGROUND

Why solo dining?

For thousands of years and across cultures, food consumption has been associated with social interaction. In the last fifty years new styles of living have shifted from almost universal dining with friends or family to eating alone.

Society transformation

For thousands of years and across cultures, food consumption has been associated with social interaction. In the last fifty years new styles of living have shifted from almost universal dining with friends or family to eating alone.

Dining alone at home

Restaurants have increasingly designed single meals for urban workers in response to this trend. In the workplace or in front of the television, eating alone has become so normal that many of us are unaware we are alone— underscoring the ubiquitous behavior that solitary eating has become.

Goal

Social changes in education, occupation and marriage have resulted in more people living alone. As more people live solitary lives, they confine their meals to their homes. I’ve extended the comfort of home dining into restaurants through a new furniture typology that mediates privacy.

DESIGN PROCESS

Research

Humans are social creatures with an innate care about what other people think of us. To better understand the psychological effect on solo diners of being viewed by others I conducted a survey of 22 solo diners 

Experiment

Problem

Solo diners feel awkward in restaurants because their personal space overlaps with the personal space of other diners. When the territorial space of individuals intersect social interaction occurs and people can feel uncomfortable. Eye contact is one of the most uncomfortable behavior base on the research and experiment. 

Eye contact

IDEATION

I want to have ability to look at people but without eye contact with them. A new type of furniture give solo diner more freedom to look around and enjoy their space without annoying eye contact

Sketch

Mock ups & testing

created a solo dining experience where every diner faced a different angle; however could still sit opposite and create face-to-face interaction. I decided to design a table that only allowed a person to sit on one side.

Prototyping

FINAL DESIGN

Mesa - table for one

Restaurant setup