There is no question that since the advent of social media we have increasingly placed more of ourselves into the public sphere. We have access to information about people we never would have been privy to unless we were friends or even just acquaintances. But is this phenomenon only relegated to the digital sphere or has it manifested itself in our architectures and physical objects as well?
According to designer Nick Ross, ever since architects began excluding interior walls from their building designs we have lost spaces for which we can share intimate or private information. We no longer have spaces where we can “confess,” so to speak, with some level of privacy. In response to this ubiquitous design trend Ross designed an archetype for what he calls a Confession Booth where people can meet alone to share information they wouldn’t want anyone else to hear. This becomes an alternative to actually walling off rooms to create private spaces.
The incidental effect of making spaces more public and transparent is the creation of objects that provide even more intimacy than would have been possible before. The confession booth is a tight but comfortable space that two individuals can lean into, providing an alternative to open space design where more intimate spaces for human interaction are created. It has the effect of heightening the intimacy of whatever we are sharing. It is both a cost effective means of re-instituting privacy while also making information sharing more private. Could this be an effect we ultimately see duplicated in the digital sphere as well?