A group of chairs, a sofa and a chair, a pile of cushions—these are the most obvious things in everybody’s life—and yet to make them work, so people become animated and alive in them, is a very subtle business. Most seating arrangements are sterile, people avoid them, nothing ever happens there. Others seem somehow to gather life around them, to concentrate and liberate energy. What is the difference between the two?


Place each sitting space in a position which is protected, not cut by paths or movement, roughly circular, made so that the room itself helps to suggest the circle—not too strongly—with paths and activities around it, so that people naturally gravitate toward the chairs when they get into the mood to sit. Place the chairs and cushions loosely in the circle, and have a few too many.

… according to the Sequence of Sitting Spaces (142), there will be a variety of different kinds of sitting space throughout an office building or a house or workshop - some formal, some informal, some large, some small, laid out in part according to the Intimacy Gradient (127). This pattern deals with the actual physical layout of any one of these sitting spaces. And of course, it can be used to help create the sequence of sitting spaces, piecemeal, one space at a time.

Use a fire, and columns, and half-open walls to form the shape of the circle - The Fire (181), The Shape of Indoor Space (191), Half-Open Wall (193); but do not make it too formal or too enclosed - Common Areas at the Heart (129), Sequence of Sitting Spaces (142). Use Different Chairs (251), big ones, small ones, cushions, and a few too many, so that they are never too perfectly arranged, but always in a bit of a jumble. Make a Pools of Light (252) to mark the sitting circle, and perhaps a Window Place (180)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 857medium-confidence