Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Designing Experiences

When architect and stage designer David Rockwell (on right in picture to the left) was asked to design the interior of the new JetBlue terminal at JFK International Airport, he brought in a rather unlikely partner: Broadway choreographer Jerry Mitchell (left). The pair had collaborated before (on Broadway shows like Hairspray (right), Rocky Horror, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).

Now, they’re re-imagining airport foot traffic as a choreography challenge, finding ways to move people more smoothly and naturally through the pre- and post-flight experience. This is where what could have been thought of as basically environment design becomes experience design.

"The original design made it hard to understand where you were supposed to go, either entering or leaving," Mitchell told The New York Times. "Traffic diagrams showed a huge amount of path-crossing. I started to think it would be fabulous to eliminate all this crisscrossing and straight edges, which cause anxiety when they go on too long. David asked me what dance patterns I would use, and I said, 'People move easiest in circles: off and on the merry-go-round.' "

Students could look at their own school to see how people move and gather to help suggest ways to improve the experience of students and teachers through the design of the school.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the Rockwell Group. Their many projects will provide numerous ideas for similar projects students could design.

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