Sanjana Shivakumar


Title: Addressing Post-Pandemic realities by redesigning dining experiences for connectivity, safety and interaction.

Supervisor: Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella

Program: Masters of Design (MDes), 2020

Sanjana Shivakumar is an architect and design researcher, currently pursuing a Master of Design at Concordia University, Montreal. She completed her bachelors degree in architecture from Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India. Sanjana has two years of experience working on various socially-inclined out-reach projects. This has helped her focus her research interests towards Healthcare and pandemic-specific concepts for public space design. During the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, she has helped design and develop mobile applications and emergency essential kits for migrant populations in India.

Sanjana’s research creation project is framed within the broad domain of design studies, to enable communities through spatial perceptions and interactions design. Her research aims to identify inherent complexities in the intersection of people, space and virtual environments – how we live, work, and make accommodations every day.

Her thesis aims at exploring the dichotomies of connectivity and distancing in urban spaces, physical vs. virtual interactions and modifying existing social constructs in public spaces. She would like to analyse contrasting interactions in pre-pandemic and post-pandemic times using dining spaces as her context. Her research methodology would incorporate actor-network theories, thinking in systems, phenomenology and tentacular theories to theorize the dining experience. The project would be broadly categorized into 3 main sub questions: ‘How can we merge the positive experiences of online food ordering and dining in?’, ‘How can IoCT (internet of Cultural things) improve user experiences and create a cultural sync in dining spaces’ and ‘How can a designed space retain its relevance in a post pandemic context?’ She would like to address these questions with a series of open-ended interviews, a qualitative analysis of short-term and long-term protocols for public dining, and a smartphone application mock-up testing in a participatory design setting.

She aims to combine the positive aspects of dining ─socialisation, connectedness and user experience─ and ordering online─ accessibility, convenience and machine intelligence─ to create a controlled environment for users.

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