Context is Everything

This image shows a wide view of a performance space. Looking closer we can see that the stage is uncluttered with luxuriously ambient purple lighting and two identical chairs. One is positioned slightly turned in towards the other. This might denote the idea that one speaker is in some way subservient to the other. There is a small table with a wine cooler and bottle and a blank screen behind gently encouraging the audience to focus on the chairs. The wine indicates a sense of informality to the imminent event and the proximity of the seating towards the front of the stage creates a sense of intimacy or connection with the audience. There is a keen sense of anticipation in the room.

So what is the point of describing these seemingly casual observations? The significance lies in the idea of context. Without it, there is no meaning or sense of substance to what is being explored or created. Similarly, careful consideration of context underpins the integrity of high quality design and architecture. Therefore, buildings must respond to their physical context as well as the people who use them. Without this core principle we objectify what we design and impose rather than create.

Incidentally, the question and answer session at the theatre wasn’t very successful because despite the excellent setting and atmosphere the journalist had not researched his subject and so failed to engage or connect with the guest, much to the amusement and entertainment of the audience.



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