Post 390 ⇒   by Gautam Shah




Stitching is mainly done on fibre, film or pliable laminar assemblies. Stitching is a continuous linear fastening system, compared to Knotting, which is of intermittent stitches. Machine Stitching is common to garments and bags packing (cement, grains). Machine stitching is done with two individual fibres, on either of the faces, so a fibre pull from the other face (from the machine) may undo the assembly. Hand stitching is used for garments repair (Rafu – darning work in India) and for preparing Razais (Indian blankets stuffed with cotton). It is done with a single fibre as a continuous stitch, and so is more stable, but not necessarily stronger. Knotting is very common in making of cotton mattresses. It is stable and stronger as each knot is tied separately, and even if one of it comes apart, does not affect the entire assembly.


Different types Threads for Quality of Fabrics

Majority of stitches are made with a needle eyed at the end. Cobblers, sports goods manufacturers, and for heavy duty work a notched hook-needle is used to pull over a looped hung-thread. Complex stitches may employ one to four threads. There are several variations of stitch formations, such as, Running stitch, back stitch, looped stitch, edge seaming stitch, darning or Rafu work stitch, buttons hole stitch, etc.

Needles (for Hand sewing

Sewing awl

Stitching materials are threads of cotton, silk, rayons, polyester, Nylon (Aramid), stretched guts of animals like cats, spliced leather, metal wires and spliced stripes, (silver, gold, copper, aluminium). Stitching material must have strength equal or less than the material to be stitched. A stronger stitching thread cuts into the material being stitched.

Sewing Tools for Leather

Specific materials are used for joining two similar or dissimilar materials. Materials that are fragile (stitch cutting into the material), are stitched with extra resilient strips, on one or both faces.


Quilting stitches

Surgeons use stitch materials made of animal guts (processed intestines of cats stretched into a fine thread) or fine quality nylon, polyesters and Teflon. Surgical stitching material must not biologically react with body. Dissoluble and de-gradable threads are also used in surgical procedures.

Knotting in Mattresses > Wikipedia image by Jeffrey M. Vinocur


Fusible threads fuse to form a joint with the fabric, on post stitching heat or chemical treatment. Rafugars (Indian -fabric/garment darning) use very fine threads, or often single filament fibres to create a network of stitches (akin to weaving or knitting), to join torn sections and strengthen weakened areas. The filament is pulled out from the selvage of the fabric (or garment) to create a perfect colour match.

Glove Ball Baseball

Knotting is in many ways similar to stitching, but unlike the stitching it is not a continuous process. Knots are created intermittently or at the end of a ductile or flexible linear element like yarn, thread or a rope. Cross knots tie up an assembly, to join one linear unit to another, and Wraps keep unravelling loose ends of a thread or rope. Knotted wraps also do not let a rope or thread go-off, whereas Unknotted wraps are created by winding loose ends, or with the help of an extra thread or wire to form a smooth end that can easily slide through a whole, eyelet or sleeve.

Leather boot stitches

Elevator metal wire ropes’ ends are rolled over a circular section and secured together by a friction holder. Pre-stressed wires in RCC structures, wire rope bridges also use similar friction holders of conical shape.


Lashes are straps or stripes cut from of leather, polypropylene like plastics, or malleable metals, or knitted or braided threads of round or flat section. Lashes are used for tying sails, tents, shoes’ uppers, paper, bamboos, canes, etc. with or without the use of eyelets. Straps are secured by buckles, knots, rivets or wraps. Metal lashes or straps of annealed mild steel are used for tying bales of cotton and bundles of fabrics. The ends are tied together by crimping a small piece of malleable metal or by riveting. Fodder grass bundles are tied using metal wires. Here ends are secured by knotting.



Post 364 – by Gautam Shah 



Taffeta is a high end or luxury fabric of Silk. It was worn by Persians since early 3rd C. Persians called it, taftah or taftan or taffian. It has been called taffety. The Persian word meant twisted-woven silk. Silk taffeta was once made from white silk cocoons. The taffeta making materials, their combinations, weaving styles, dyeing, printing and finishing procedures, all have been varying in different locations and times. But, all through history, in spite of many variations, it has retained its popularity for uses like women’s wear, bedspreads, dresses, drapes, lampshades, linings, trimmings, ribbons, corsets, etc.



Winslow Homer Croquet Scene

Taffeta is tightly woven fabric and so has full body. Original taffeta is believed to be woven with equal numbers of warp and weft yarns. But in later periods, the proportions have been varied: with warp and filling threads, yarn-quality such as filament or staple, density of the weave. Other main effects included yarn-dyed and piece-dyed fabrics. Yarn-dyed taffeta has a stiff handle, and a rustle known as scroop, (Scroop -its synonym froufrou, is the sound that taffeta makes). It can be added to certain fabrics, by acid treatment that hardens the fibres of the fabric. Scroop is a desired effect of formal or evening dresses, and for undergarment-skirts for couture dresses of very thin or sheer fabrics like chiffon or georgette.

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres princess Albert de Broglie

Taffeta being a silk fabric has a lustrous surface, but different texturizing, sizing and effects can make it a dull or slightly sheen fabric. Taffeta has an identical surface on both sides, and same texture from both orientations due to the same number of yarns in both directions. Some taffeta fabrics have fine cross ribs, formed due to the use of heavier Filling yarn than warp.

Woman’s plaid silk taffeta dress 1855

Faille Taffeta is cross rib weave fabric with a heavy and firm handle. It is woven with staple yarns. Moire taffeta or Moire faille has ripples which if heat set may not be permanent. Moire, French word meaning watered, once applied to lustrous fabrics of gold, silver and silk during 15th C. Today, it is used on synthetic taffeta as perma-set process. Paper Taffeta is a plain weave light weight material, treated to give a paper-like crisp feel. Tissue Taffeta is similar to paper taffeta but softer in feel and very light weight and transparent fabric.

Silk Taffeta dress 1865

Taffeta fabrics are given effects. Pigmented Taffeta is woven with pigmented yarns to make them almost an opaque or solid coloured fabric. Shot taffeta, Iridescent, Changeable or Chameleon taffeta, is a plain weave material, but with different colours for warp and filling. The fabric seems to show different colours in different angles of views. Warp-print taffeta is a plain weave, but the warp yarns are differently dyed in segments, or printed before the filling is inserted (similar to Patan, Gujarat, India, Patola Sarees). This gives a dazzling or fuzzy look to the regular patterns.


Taffeta coutil is silk-cotton mix fabric, with lilac-white effect. Taffeta alpaca is similar to coutil but with black and white colour combinations. Fiantique taffeta has slub filler yarns and a near reversible look that imitates fine shantung. Taffeta angleterre is a highly glazed and stiff material used for, caps, hats, form-effects and for curtains and for billowing the dresses through stiff lining.

Taffeta fabrics were favoured for offbeat uses till arrival of Rayons, Nylons, Polyester and glass-fiber fabrics. Taffeta fabrics were used for electrical insulation, parachutes, making air-balloons and very light air craft. Synthetic taffeta like fabrics, mainly of polyesters are used for different purposes ranging from garments, industrial to built-forms. The uses include dresses, dresses for performance, stage curtains, tents, partitions, air structures, umbrellas, soft luggage, and as an insulation and lining fabric.




Post 306 –by Gautam Shah




Woods are fashioned to a variety of finishes such as bark stripped, chopped, rough hewn, sawn, planned, sanded, etc. Timbers gain variety of finishes due to planned seasoning, ageing and exposures. Such finishes are valued for certain uses and so re-formed on fresh timbers, or old surfaces are restored-altered for specific effects.Timbers offer surface quality that is end of the grains, and faces towards and away from the core.


Finishes for wood depend on several factors.

Primarily a wood finish depends on its proposed use as a product or composite. The product defines its sensorial and engineering properties. The product also determines, the technology used for sizing and then finishing. The wood for a product is checked, if it is sap inclusive or heart exclusive, type of wood – soft or hard, type of cut – quarter, rift, tangential or slab, etc.

Wood Router

Quality of wood (jungle -often called firewood, commercial or special timbers, etc.) and form of the product requires very specific method and material of applique finishing. The applied finishes are affected by the nature of wood (soft or hard), level of moisture content, direction grain, presence of gum-resins (aliphatic compounds, waxy and resinous substances), and colour. Overt finishes must take care of grain filling, colour correction (by staining-bleaching), and rectification of anatomical anomalies such as straight or cross grain, knots, shakes, pith, etc.


Wood sizing, product shaping and finishing, all are affected by the atmospheric conditions (temperature, moisture, wind, dust). Wood finishing technology is product dependent, which in turn is considered in terms of its economic viability. The time and effort involved in finishing a wood product must match its economic, aesthetic and functional requirements. A low quality wood, a low-cost product, or an engineering-structural item whose sensorial qualities are less relevant must receive appropriate treatment.



Wood products where feel or texture also necessitates visually appealing finish. This process starts with selection wood, grain pattern and its orientation, finishing technique and the coating. In case of restoration and conservation of wood structures and other utilitarian items, one must check the age of wood, decaying agents, presence of moisture, surface contaminants like dust, soot, oil-grease, residues of earlier finishes, burns and marks of singeing, sunken grains, etc. Other important cares include tools and techniques used for surface correction must not physically scrape the surface, chemically affect the surface or leave a residual product. Care is also required that all processes must be reversible (in future if it is realized that this are damaging).

Wood conservation-preservation




Post 217 – by Gautam Shah 



Wood’s appearance, warmth to touch, its ability to be worked with simple inexpensive tools, wide range of tonal hues, grain patterns and textures make it, the most versatile craft material. The only drawback for using wood, is the effect of moisture on its structural properties and its susceptibility to decay. No two pieces of timber are similar, the great variations in structural properties, colour, texture etc., make it suitable for different uses. These wide variations in a quality put the timber to a disadvantage in comparison to many naturally available materials.

Wood products

Wood products

Wood products

Wood products

Trees can be basically classified into two groups – exogenous trees (exogens) and endogenous trees (endogens).

  • Trees may be broadly grouped into exogenous and endogenous trees according to the way in which their stem diameter increases.
  • Endogenous: are trees with inward growth, and have longitudinal fibres such as canes, bamboo, palms etc. Typically it is not possible to see any growth rings in this set of trees.
  • Exogenous: are trees with outward growth (such as additions of annual-seasonal rings), like Conifers (narrow leaves) (pine, fir), Deciduous trees (broad leaves) (teak, rose). These are used as engineering timbers.
Exogenous conifer

Exogenous conifer


Endogenous plant Bamboo

Endogenous plant Bamboo

Exogenous plants as the name suggests grow outward. The stems are formed by successive additional layer on outside. Timber is essentially derived by the new mass formed in the cambium between the wood and the bark every year. Trees of cold climates and substantial numbers trees of warmer climates are exogenous. Rings in the trunk or branch section, and pith with medullary rays extending outwards to the bark are two distinguishing features of exogenous trees. Exogens yield timber for furniture and construction. Exogenous trees are subdivided into two main classes: broad-leaved trees and needle-leaved trees, or conifers. Broad-leaved Woods generally contain no resins, and the density or weight is greater. They are usually hard, and due to their irregular structure, net yield is lower.





The other botanical group of endogenous trees or endogens or grow inward from a hard exterior shell or, more commonly, end-wise by the acquisition of a new joint. Endogenous trees grow by forming new fibres within the trunk interspersed with the old fibres. Old endogenous stems have older and harder wood near the surface, whereas younger and softer centre. Timber from these trees has very limited engineering applications. Examples of endogenous trees are Palms, bamboos, canes, etc. These are not broadly useful for furniture or construction work, yet have their specific advantages and uses.




Commercial timbers of exogenous trees are classified as softwoods and hardwoods, though a very misleading nomenclature. Softwoods are timbers obtained from conifers, growing above certain altitude, and are supposed to be soft and lighter in colour. Hardwoods, are timbers that originate from the mainland and tropical areas are supposed to be hard and darker in colour. Many softwoods, though, are much harder and often of darker in shades than some of the hardwoods. Inversely many hardwoods are fairly soft and lighter in colour than some of the softwoods. Botanical names and commercial names of trees or timbers do not provide a true picture. There are multiple botanical names for the same specie adding to the confusion. Same timber is likely to be differently known commercially in various parts of the world.


Thanjavur Palace India

Timber is a very precious commodity. It takes decades to grow a commercially viable timber tree. Deforestation has become a prime issue from ecological points of view. Several countries have banned or severely curtailed and controlled the export of timber. Similarly many countries have banned import of timber to limit deforestation world wide. Many governments and local authorities discourage timber structures and other uses of timber. Government of India has enforced conditions, so that usage of timber as doors and windows and other structural purposes are nearly banned, in government schemes. Similar conditions are likely to be followed by state governments also. So over the years use of timber is likely to be severely curtailed not only due to legislation but also its difficult availability and consequent upward pricing.

Wood products

Wood Composite products

Timber grown in planned plantations is of consistent variety due to standard or a singular source of seedling or genetic derivation and grown in very controlled conditions. These results in trees with identical grain, colour and texture, belying the natural variations associated with woods.


Wood replacement products are of broadly two types. Wood-based composites such as plywood, block boards, chip and particle boards are likely to remain available, but only for a while. The availability of such products is also going to taper off in future. Wood ‘look-a-like’, make-believe, or pseudo wood products made of polymeric composites, painted, printed or layered materials are in the market.

Unlike a metal or plastic, wood is inherently a replenish-able resource, provided production and use are controlled and matched.




Post 193 –  by Gautam Shah



We, conduct tasks more efficiently, in certain positions or postures. To achieve, maintain or terminate (transit to another one) postures we normally do not need devices, but for some posturing certain devices and amenities are required. The capacity to change over to another posture and sustain it depends on the physiological structure of the body, deformities, age related in-capacities, motor (movement-flexibility) potential and response time etc. Body posture devices and amenities are primarily designed to make available maximum energy for the activity. The posture-devices could be support available from other beings. The efficiency of task performance is a direct function of the body posture achieved.


Posture for home work

Posture for home work

Wissam's Human Space Theory Personal space for posturing

Wissam’s Human Space Theory Personal space for posturing

We need to take different types of body postures for conducting various tasks. The posture could be defined as main position of the body for the task, and micro variations that may be required for conducting sub-tasks. Other micro variations include postures for relief and diversion.

Posture for contemplation Caspar_Netscher_-_Young_Girl_Holding_a_Letter_(detail)_-_WGA16521

Posture for contemplation >> Caspar Netscher Young Girl Holding a Letter

Devices related to postures include amenities that allow work in certain position and body configuration. Other devices extend the reach of human limbs, and thereby reduce the need for posturing. Posture devices are also used for correcting deformities and work deficiencies of the body. Understanding of Postures is very important in design of furniture, amenities, facilities, tools, gadgets and machines.


Different postures of participants >> An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1768


Gravity is one of the most important factors to affect the postures and the need for posture related devices. Besides the conduction of a task, the postures are formed in consideration of the Environment such as for the heat exchange of the body and moisture control mechanisms. Postures must allow functioning of the important Biological routines such as breathing, metabolisms, fluid control, blood circulation, etc. Postures are taken primarily to conduct tasks, and also allow Sensorial perception. Posturing instinctively takes care of needs for Security and survival.

European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, Expedition 21 commander, exercises on the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT) in the Harmony node of the International Space Station



Post -by Gautam Shah



To conduct various Tasks and to get relief from that chore we take certain body positions or postures. The posture could be sustained one or intermediate one to achieve a new posture. We often need help of a device, to achieve, maintain or terminate the posture. The devices or amenities for postures, make an activity, transition to or from it, or an interim relief, feasible, and efficient.


The capacity of body, to take-on a posture, sustain it, and leave it, depends on many factors such as: Physiological structure, deformities, age related in-capacities, motor (movement-flexibility) potential and response time, etc. Body posture devices and amenities are primarily designed to make available maximum energy for the activity in appropriate form -direction and level. The efficiency of task operation is a direct function of the body posture achieved.

Gravity is the major force against which the body must achieve a particular position.  Hypothetically one may not need many of the body support systems, if the gravity were to be eliminated. In reality, however, one may still need support systems because the body has been genetically and physically conditioned with the presence of gravity. This is the reason why space astronauts sleep in standing position in no gravity zones and their module is rotated (spun) continually at slow speed.

1 3067641576_5b171d2dfc_z (1)

Supports help to maintain the body postures, and also facilitate some of the biological functions. The support and comfort have become synonymous concepts. Just as comfort is a situation-specific requirement, so are the support system.


Support systems are very personalized. Every individual presents a unique combination of stature and body mass. It is difficult to draw a standard support system. Support systems are designed on percentile basis, trying to satisfy the largest section of people for a variegated set of tasks. It may not work effectively across cultures.


Support systems ideal for posture initiation may not be efficient for continuing the posture, or for terminating (or transiting to another one) it. Posture support systems need to have micro variation facilities, to relieve tedium, to reset the pressure on body limbs (including blood and fluid vessels), and to allow sensorial and physical reach in various directions. A technically perfect support system may not be ever comfortable. Due to personal and in-explicit reasons some support systems are preferred to others or totally avoided.


A support system must also function well when employed with the utility for the task. A chair is a seating device, but a writing chair or a counter chair also relates to the specific work surfaces. A hospital bed is a sleeping device but it is also a treatment device.

Same size-type seat –different postures

Posture devices are designed by checking out following points.

■ Do you need any one’s help to take or leave a particular posture?

■ Do you really need any device to take on, maintain or change over to another posture?

■ Which limb of the body is supported by such a device?

■ How long is it supported?

■ Is the device a substantial support system for the body, or partial system for a limb?

■Is the device also a functional tool, gadget, machine, plant or equipment?

■ Is the device also a tool, gadget, machine, or equipment for a particular type of sensual perception or communication?

■ Is the posture, device dependent?

■ Is the device, posture dependent?

■ Are the devices and postures dependent on something else?

■ Is the posture static (substantial period between start and end of a posture)?

■ Is the posture variable (a phase in a series of postures movement spectrum)?

■ Is the posture device assistive or resistive?




Post -by Gautam Shah



Seating arrangements influence the nature of interaction in a group. Space planning is key to design for social interactions. Circular seating provides a better environment for interaction. A hearth has been the focus of circular arrangement. However, in a circular seating arrangement individuals interact more with the person on opposite side rather than adjacent to them. That is why when a person conducts a group, or if there is a designated leader, the circular arrangement becomes a bow. It is observed that in four-person groups (or arrangements), favourable interaction occurs among persons seated closer together rather then facing one another. This could be the reason why young couples prefer to sit at right angle, compared to seasoned couples who prefer to sit opposite to each other.



It is found that when eye-contact is diffused, a side-by-side interaction is preferred to across-the-table interaction. The eye contact is diffused by distance, strong and focussed lighting below the eye levels, occlusion due to intervening objects like decorative food or flower vases. Diffusion may also happen when the opposite person is socially unknown or repugnant.



Very large group meeting tables (dining, conference, etc.) are designed to be of large width or with a well. Contrary to this tables are of very small width to provide intimacy, bonhomie and revelry, such as for picnics, outdoor eateries, and reunions. Coffee houses tables are small sized to encourage intimacy.


Three persons sharing a circular or triangle table is highly awkward arrangement. Similarly tables with a narrowing end create a clumsy situation unless at the wide end a leader (or presentation screen for slide show or video) holds the attention. Larry King live -the famous programme host used a table with tapered shape to position the guest (perhaps depending on the personality) at desired place and thereby control the distance of interaction.




Nature of interaction is defined by the spatial distancing. The spatial distancing could be the clear distance between the seats and one that can be manipulated by posturing. Seat distances such 450 mm are intimate, over 750 to 1200 mm are personal, over 1200 to 3500 allow social or eye contact, and over 3500 mm one has control over interaction, but beyond 15 mts one needs other means of enlargement  to achieve interaction. Though different cultures and contexts may elicit alternative expectations on distance of interaction.


The concept of spatial distancing and interaction have different connotations. Chat rooms, bulletin boards email, twitter and Skype etc. allow communication among strangers. Some of these mediums miss the personal feedback or a face-to-face context. Every media set has its own defined or expected culture, and anyone who do not abide by it is considered violating the spatial relationships. The person is considered less sociable than those who do not commit such violations.




 Post  –by Gautam Shah


Quilting is a method of stitching together two layers of fabrics with or without an interlining of some material to form a textile sandwich. The stitching holds the fabrics and the interlining material in place and also serves as the basis for decorative designs.


Quilted fabric or quilt constructed fabrics are used for blankets, mattress covers, and also clothing, upholstery, and decoration. The quilt fabrics and the interlining material provide substance (mass), sound, heat and vibrations insulations, stiffness and textured effect. The quilting fabrics are cotton, artificial silks, rayon and polyesters. The interlining materials are fluffed cotton or polyester, rayon staples, shoddy wools and animal hairs, bird-feathers, polypropylene woven and non-woven sheets, coir, etc. Poor in India use discarded clothing pieces to form quilts.


The Quilting or joining the fabric and the interlining is done by continuous machine or hand stitches as well as continuous or spot knotting. Modern quilting is done by heat fusion setting or chemical bonding. The Stitch-lines and knots create regular or irregular patterns like squares, diamonds, spirals, etc.


The Quilting fabric could be same on both sides or plain one on the bottom side. The top fabric is often plain so that the quilting stitches form the design. The top fabric is printed or created by joining small pieces of fabrics to create an appliqué or patch work.


Screenshot_2020-04-18 Portion of a quilted petticoat - PICRYL Public Domain Image

Quilting is very ancient craft. Quilted garments were extensively used In China, Russia, and Pre-Columbian Meso-America for warmth. Quilted fabrics were used as armour. Crusaders from western Europe were introduced to quilting when they encountered Saracens in the Holy Land. Saracen foot soldiers wore straw-filled, quilted canvas shirts as a form of armour, and horsemen used quilted silk under-shirts to prevent their armour from chafing. Dutch and English colonists brought quilting to America in the 17th C. The first American quilts were made by the appliqué method. Archaeologists discovered a quilted floor covering in Mongolia, estimated to be of between 100 BC to 200 AD.


Surface or wall padding have construction similar to quilting. Surface padding was used on inside faces of doors, etc. to prevent eves dropping, heat insulation. In early 1940s sound broadcasting studios and chamber music rooms were wall padded to acoustically isolate the space, but this practice was soon was abandoned  for several reasons, odour fouling of the interior due to padding materials (natural, synthetic and composites), vulnerability to fire and need to add some reverberated sounds. In modern times surface padding as wall padding is employed to provide a safe level of impact absorption as anti-ligature measure in jails, nursery rooms, rooms for mentally disturbed patients. Wall paddings are used in built spaces to prevent injuries due to impact. These include low beams, wall or column edges, goal posts, etc.


Molas are handmade using a reverse appliqué technique. Several layers (usually two to seven) of different-coloured cloth (usually cotton) are sewn together; the design is then formed by cutting away parts of each layer. The edges of the layers are then turned under and sewn down. Often, the stitches are nearly invisible. This is achieved by using a thread the same colour as the layer being sewn, sewing blind stitches, and sewing tiny stitches. The finest molas have extremely fine stitching, made using tiny needles.

The largest pattern is typically cut from the top layer, and progressively smaller patterns from each subsequent layer, thus revealing the colours beneath in successive layers. This basic scheme can be varied by cutting through multiple layers at once, hence varying the sequence of colours; some molas also incorporate patches of contrasting colours, included in the design at certain points to introduce additional variations of colour. –from Wikipedia




SPACE PLANNING -Developments

Post -by Gautam Shah 



Wall abutting work unit

The space planning as a space efficiency method emerged in later part of the Industrial Revolution period (1800s). This was an age when number of gadgets for kitchens, toilets, craft areas, offices, industry, etc., began to be available. These initiated ‘systems planning’ thinking. The gadgets were conceived as fitments into a space, with planned connectivity and inter gadget relationships. Approach to ‘comprehensive planning’ later became ‘Space Planning’. Women’s hobby magazines of the time took it further, and helped in creating work efficiency layouts (home productivity) with behavioural considerations. For example, a window over a cooking range and sink were as a result of these attitudes. At industrial level the line production layouts were carefully planned and regularly updated. The ‘mega foot print’ or extensive spaces of new commercial offices required major re-haul of layouts when illumination and heating-cooling were electrified, telephony and better document storage systems became common. The new departmental stores of 1950s required very frequent space re-planning because of the fast changing brands and their packing formats.

For new Gadgets there was no specific furniture or provisions

At domestic level the house which had highly room specific spaces began to be open plan layouts with minimal of walls and partitions. It offered large unhindered space for various tasks. This was also due to smaller or one person family. The gadgets that were bulky requiring structural bearing were now multi tasking, miniatures, mobile or easily relocatable and affordable. This freed lot of space and need for compulsive siting.



It was now clear that anthropometric data or ergonomics was not the only consideration, but behaviour of the human beings was the key to space planning. The definition of spatial and occupancy requirements were important. Other thoughts related to flexibility of accommodating the future growth, access for the disabled, safety, security, etc. Homes, offices, industrial plants, jails, educational institutions, research facilities, wherever growth or rationalization was conceived, it was through space planning. Corporate  organizations began replacing the layered system to team or department-based structures which favour classless, transparent or open layouts.


Early offices had peripheral siting, that is along the wall work tables and cabins. This gradually gave way to half height partitioned or ‘compartmental office spaces’. But today, according to the International Facility Management Association, 68% of North American employees work in offices with an open floor plan or open seating. Open offices are  space-inefficient due to larger per employee area, and are less clustered.




  • Older employees and traditional businesses like, law, finance and other professionals, who have worked from cubicles, cabins and corner offices, find it difficult to adopt open offices. Open offices are blamed for affecting privacy, client relationships, employee productivity, loss of sense of belonging, and even compromising the morale.


Open offices provided a visual cohesiveness and spatial continuity.  Open office plan also incorporated the concept of compact personal work module -a work station. Computers had work stations as dedicated utility for multi tasking. Earlier craft’s people like watch repairer, engravers, gold smith had such facilities, to reduce the movement.

Digitised from glass plate negative

  • Offices during and immediately after world war-II period had as much 50 % of the total space devoted to storage. These were separated from work areas, and manned by store keepers. The store room volume and traffic to it were reduced with several technologies such as document facsimile systems,  telecommunication, automated file access including the mechanical card-index sorting machines. Digital documents with computerization solved the problems of file storage, access and transfer. Now the offices were nearly fully ‘human occupied spaces’.


  • Wireless technology and cloud storage software make it easier for companies to embrace nomadic workstations, says Frank Rexach, a Shanghai-based vice president and general manager at Haworth    Rexach says ‘People don’t want to feel handcuffed to their desk, especially the Millennials’ (= young people who were between the ages of 10 and 20 on September 11, 2001 defined as per Newsweek magazine).




Laptop and tablet computers linked to remote servers reduced the location bound dependence. Wireless telecommunication, mobility and flexible work schedules allowed employees to work from location of their choice. The office space now remained a location for interaction. Of course this function too was met by video conferencing. Now the office space has become an unassigned seating place. Yet the need to personally interact remained as acute, perhaps emerged stronger. The meeting rooms are common or rented facilities. Its interior space has high efficiency ambience but does not match the corporate aspirations of a ‘personal space’. In a different perspective, something similar is happening on educational campuses. The teacher-student relationship is missing on personal contacts. The lecture hall is partly replaced by seminar or workshop rooms.