Starbucks Third Space - CoolStuff Studios

How Starbucks Created a Third Space

In shared spaces or community buildings what is commonly referred to as the third space—or place—are the social surroundings separate from the two typical social environments most people experience: one’s home (or the “first place”) and the workplace (also called the “second place”).

Third places are often considered anchors of community life. They serve as meeting spots that foster and facilitate creative and broad social interaction.

So what is an optimal example of this concept? No company has created a more successful third place than Seattle based coffee giant, Starbucks.

Starbucks’ Third Space

Think about it. Starbucks is synonymous with soft chairs fashioned of buttery leather, intoxicating aromas of shade-grown java, free wifi and acoustic music gently pumped through unseen speakers.
This is precisely why Starbucks is more than just a coffee retailer.

The company understands the importance of providing great customer service, and their main goal is to become the third place in our daily lives. Stop by a Starbucks at any given time and you’ll see customers chatting on their phones, surfing the Internet, meeting for a quick business strategy meeting, and lazily gazing out the window.

This isn’t an accident, as the company paid big bucks to fully understand what delivering the perfect cup of coffee—in the perfect environment—would take.

Key Elements of Starbucks’ Third Space

There are a few key attributes third spaces typically include.

These spaces should, ideally, be inexpensive or even free to use. Food and drink, while not necessarily essential, also help to create interest and draw in occupants. These areas should also be highly accessible, and even within walking distance to their target audience.

Finally, third spaces need to be comfortable and welcoming. Soft music, muted or calming colors, and cozy furniture are always a big help in this area. Furthermore, a third place should be an ideal spot where friends new and old can meet. Most third spaces also involve regulars, who are those who habitually congregate.

What We Can Learn from Starbucks

Community locations such as churches or dental offices can also create successful third spaces, providing they follow the attributes listed above and feature welcoming spaces where discussion and hanging out is comfortable and effortless.

Keep in mind there is also the concept of neutral ground that is tied to the idea of a third space. This essentially means that visitors of third places typically have no obligation to be there, and are free to come and go as they please.

With a space that revolves around communication—whether it is small talk, ministry or business planning—and a little creativity, virtually any business can create a successful third space.

 

If you’re interested in creating a warm and welcoming environment for your guests, we here at CoolStuff Studios have years of experience designing, creating, and implementing engaging environments. Contact us for a free visioneering consultation session.

Creating Third Space - CoolStuff Studios

Creating a Successful Third Space: Focus on Communication, Accessibility, and Accommodation

Third spaces refer to those places outside of the home (first space) and work (second space), where people gather to commune and socialize. Such spaces can include clubs, cafes, parks, community centers, and gaming lounges, or can be a part of an existing space such as a dentist’s office, church and so forth. An ideal third space is conversation focused, accessible, and accommodating. Below we discuss two of these main characteristics of third spaces, and why they are absolutely important.

Making Conversation the Main Activity

Creating a successful third space or designing a third space requires fostering an atmosphere of communication. Third spaces, by nature, are designed to be a place where people can embrace broader perspectives and have more creative interactions. In other words, people are able to connect in newer, more dynamic ways with new and old acquaintances, family and friends.

For communication to be a central activity within a third space, there are certain features that are encouraged within the space including:

  • Food and beverages
  • Social activities that are light-hearted, playful, and fun
  • Music

Social activities allow those within the space to relax and feel more comfortable while having the right background music, played at a reasonable volume, can help set the atmosphere and tone for great interaction.

Accessibility and Accommodation in Third Spaces

Of course, third spaces must be easy-to-get-to and accommodating in order to be beneficial. Ideally, they are accessible by foot or a quick bus or car ride. In addition to proximity, there are other characteristics or features which lend themselves to the accessibility and accommodation factors of third spaces. Third spaces should be made available at little to no cost to those who wish to enjoy them. Additionally, visiting the space and participating in of the offered activities should be non-obligatory. In other words, those who visit third spaces should feel free to choose how they spend their time there.

Creating Ideal Third Spaces

A third space should, in essence, feel like a home away from home. There are a number of things that can be done to help ensure this. These things, of course, depend on who is being catered to by the space. Everything from color choices to size, layout, design, furniture, and fixtures can help create the best possible atmosphere.

These are among the many factors we take into consideration when creating the ideal third spaces for churches, Sunday school or children’s church rooms, dentist offices and other special interest groups.

Contact us to learn more or check our awesome third space designs for churches!

Half Moon Dentistry

Shaping a Modern Dental Clinic for Kids

Only a fortunate few children love visiting the dentist or at least don’t mind it. Many are disgruntled and even terrified by the prospect. What is it about the dentist’s office that frightens children? Some of their fear is learned: parents frequently hate going for a dental check-up too. High-pitched noises emanating from dangerous-looking tools set a person’s nerves and teeth on edge at any age before they come into view. When a child sees those tools his fears take shape. Meanwhile, the entire atmosphere is much like that of a hospital or doctor’s waiting room — clinical, cold, and colorless.

A Modern Pediatric Dental Clinic is Different

How can today’s pediatric dentists at the start of private practice, renovating a dental treatment facility, or specializing in pediatric dentistry encourage children to enjoy their visit? Is it possible a child might look forward to this necessary check-up, even getting a filling, when a design sets nerves at rest and even animates youthful interest? Yes, it is! And if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.

Color of Calm

Child's Play Dentistry

We can help you rid your dental office of its frighteningly clean, white interiors in favor of bright shades: lively greens, yellows, blues, oranges, and purples. We can help you select a theme which runs through the entire office to instill a sense of peace amid the youthful energy. Depending on your preferences, you might select all cool colors, pastels, a repeated cartoon motif, or marine hues and nautical images, for example.

Canning the Clinical

Child's Play Dentistry

A modern pediatric dental clinic shares more in common with a lively pre-school, boasting large rounded sinks with big mirrors and real towels instead of the usual paper-towel dispensers and full but enclosed sinks and counters. Everything is open, airy, and spacious. The claustrophobia of older offices no longer has a place in today’s dental clinic, although the setting is still clean.

Furnishing for Relaxation or Play

Child's Play Dentistry

Some spaces boast low-rise seating more like ottomans than chairs. Others create nooks and crannies in walls comfortable enough to curl up inside, at least if you’re a child. A lot of waiting rooms look more like play areas. TV screens are important, always airing cartoons, of course. A long bench provides the welcoming feel that single chairs — even lavender ones — simply cannot provide.

Sculpting Space

Half Moon Dentistry

Treatment and waiting areas no longer have to take the box-like shape of an average space. Bright hallways curve and slope like a hall of mirrors at a fairground. Add some midway scenes and a child might be at the fair. These curving corridors aren’t plain yellow, white, or green either, but feature dental graffiti all over. Treatment rooms are organized so equipment is hidden but operates at a very low volume when in use.

Check how we improved pediatric dental clinic interior for our clients. If this is what you’re looking for with your office plans, contact us today!

Third Place

The Importance of the Third Place

Third Place or Third Space is a phrase that was coined in the early 1990s by sociologist, Ray Oldenburg. It is essentially a space in which individuals meet to unwind and have discussions about things concerning themselves, their neighborhood and the wider community. It has been argued that third places are essential for civic engagement, civil society, democracy and establishing a sense of belonging.

In essence, these spaces enable community development and help individuals to form and retain a sense of identity and cohesion.

This environment is separate from the typical social environments of the “first place” (home) and the “second place” (the workplace). In the workplace, interaction and communication can be superficial, functional and stereotypical. Conversely, in the social surroundings of third spaces, these people can relax, let down their guard, form new friendships and further develop existing bonds.

Third Place In Businesses and Communities

Coffee Shop as a Third Place

The concept is becoming increasingly popular and a number of small businesses have picked up the term. It has been included in the name of many locally owned hangout spots. Additionally, it is often mentioned in urban planning literature that addresses the development of public spaces and community-oriented business development.

Below are some of the hallmarks by which a true “third place” can be identified:

  • Inexpensive or free
  • Should provide access to food and drinks
  • Should be a place to find both new and old friends
  • Involves the congregation of “regulars” or individuals who habitually gather there
  • Comfortable and welcoming
  • Should be highly accessible

Third places are settings such as parks, cafes, churches, libraries and schools. Events like town meetings, block parties, church events, neighbourhood parties, barbecues, cookouts and bingo nights qualify as third spaces as well.

These informal spaces allow individuals to gather in less-defined groupings. This can do wonders to nurture the type of ambiance individuals are seeking in a social environment. They play a huge role in fostering sociability and eliminate any sense of isolation.

No longer are these spots merely for casual recreational activities. They have developed into an incorporated aspect of the overall lifestyle of many individuals. In fact, the third place have actually developed into a non-negotiable asset for some people.

Contact us for creative ways to enhance your third place.