divide and conquer

April 15, 2015
by marie murray

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i remember a friend who will not eat anything on her plate if the food groups are touching each other. the carrots can’t touch the chicken. there has to be a space between the rice and the beans.

it drives me crazy. it all combines during digestion anyway. but every time i roll my eyes, she tries to explain herself. “i can’t enjoy each flavor if they all overlap. why would i want to rob myself of tasting what each food has to offer?”

she does have a point. and her quirky eating habits can come in handy when considering the furnishing layout of a public space.

trust me, it’s not as crazy as it seems. let’s say you might want a venue to be a place where families are welcome as well as being a place where individuals can sit undisturbed to do creative work. or maybe you might want to attract teens as well as professionals.

designing and furnishing the whole space to try to cater to different audiences isn’t a great idea. it’ll force you to make compromises; the mood won’t feel right with families, for example, and the space will be too noisy for the professionals. well, the key is to keep your apples separate from your oranges, so to speak.

because most public spaces cater to different audiences, each space needs to attract different personalities and be aware of how each specific audience intends to use the space, all without introducing too much compromise. that’s never easy, even to those experienced with this challenge.

but it can be considerably easier if you keep one rule in mind: divide and conquer.

this means creating different sections in a public space. each section serves the wants and needs of its intended audience, without reducing from the intended experience of the other sections. to divide and conquer, you need to know who your audience is, and how the space is intended to be used.

here are some guidelines to help you better divide and conquer, based on two different way of looking at your audience: demographics and intended use of the space.

looking at your audience through the lens of demographics, the age group of the audience plays a huge part in their preferences. younger guests belonging to generation y are active, social and always on the go. they love quick service, free wifi, low costs and the chance to linger with friends as long as they like.

members of generation x are likely to be raising small kids, and appreciate spaces that are family-friendly. details such as high chair availability, larger tables, separated booths, and buffet options make it clear that a space values children.


larger tables, a flexible layout, and water resistant fabrics are ideal for families.

baby boomers enjoy places that relay elegance and sophistication, but that are also open to families, because many from this generation are starting to become grandparents. living alone baby boomers are the most likely to pay more for a classy experience with excellent quality and a refined atmosphere.


living alone baby boomers appreciate a refined atmosphere.

now let’s look through the lens of the intended use of the space. environments where creative individuals can come to work use high ceilings, large open spaces, and big windows for a positive affect.


high ceilings and blue skies are catalysts to creativity.

for professional settings where clients can hold meetings or run through task lists, try incorporating lower ceilings and adding red tones to bring a subtle sense of urgency and to enhance focus. this is known as negative affect.


warmer tones and restricted vision enhance focus and getting things done.

the furnishing within the space will help set the tone as well. wood is natural and relaxed. metals communicate ambition and importance. fabrics can reinforce a feeling of home.


metals go hand in hand with the fast-paced, independent personality a professional and independent clientele.

it can be a challenge to incorporate various vibes and functions into one space. that’s why it helps to think of my friend’s strange way of eating. she keeps her rice separate from her beans so that she can get the full experience of each distinct taste. go forth now… divide and conquer.

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2 Responses to “divide and conquer”

  1. […] we did say customer ‘experience’ but in reality it’s multiple ‘experiences’. this is because although each food & beverage concept attracts its own clientele, every person within this clientele still has her unique likes and dislikes. this is where casafekra® divides and conquers. […]

  2. […] serve similar menus4. image is actually best determined by the décor and interior design5. creating zones that offer slightly different atmospheres also makes a difference. and furniture is often the […]

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