Spatial design


The current process of service design is often concerned with optimising interactions between the various stakeholders and users of the service. In the real experience of end- users, there is one element that is unfortunately often underexposed and whose influence is underestimated: the space in which the service takes place. This is the hallmark of spatial design. This new design discipline investigates the relationship between a space, location or place and the interaction that can take place there. It is a marriage between architecture, interaction design and service design. Saar Van de Kerckhove, one of our spatial researchers, provides her insight into the added value of including spatial analysis in an innovation process:

Saar Van Kerckhoven:

" With spatial design, we try to coordinate the interaction between spaces and services. It is therefore extremely important to investigate who is in a space and what is going on there. The space must be an ideal basis for the provision of optimal services and vice versa. Only then can we design an optimal experience for the end user!

Just think of a market square in a village. This is a place where people come together, where there is a market every Wednesday, a fair twice a year, where people need to be able to park and where they want to spend time in the greenery... In short, this space will be used by a wide range of stakeholders and must therefore be designed to meet every need. Therefore, it is important to first map out these needs. We asked Carley Hamaway, our experienced spatial designer how to go about this:


Carley Hamaway:

"It is essential that you first map out the needs of the users within the space. This can be done through in-depth interviews, but a broader focus group or panel discussion can also be a strong method. Many of our spatial design projects take place in public spaces, so it is important to include a very broad spectrum of people and their respective contexts. For a market square, for example, you will need to contact citizens, tourists, restaurant owners, market vendors, young people & senior citizens... It is not always easy to include all these needs in the final design, but that is the challenge!"
In our final spatial service diagram we make a visual representation of the research we are doing. It is an overview of all the functions that must be present within the space and how these elements relate to each other. Later, It also provides a guide for developers to ensure that the space can meet any future need so that everyone feels welcome and supported by the space they enter.
Example of a Spatial service diagram for the redesign of a town hall.
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