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a Studiolab production.

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Nuts in the bar.

For a small ritual such as the bowl of peanuts you get when having a drink in the bar, can be very deceptive in its underlying aspects. First observations conclude that the peanuts are only offered with cold drinks (soda and alcoholic), customers generally do not ask for them but receive them for free as a sign of hospitality from the bar owner.

On a less superficial level, we see that customers do not receive them when the bar is crowded and busy. We also see that apart from fulfilling an appetite, they are also used by the bar owner to generate thirst.

In our research we have found out that there were so many situations and scenarios happening around this bowl of peanuts in a bar. Therefore we tried to act out (as seen as above) the most important scenarios to illustrate its meaning as well the as social impact.

"The moving bowl." With one eater, there is a natural movement of the bowl towards that person. "Watched by strangers." In an enclosed table situation, strangers do not eat from the bowl of nuts. "Connecting." In an open situation (like on a bar) everybody is free to eat and share from a single bowl of nuts. "The lonely eater." Eating peanuts is often found as a time killer when waiting for somebody or when someone is alone. "Monkey see, monkey do." Often, the act of eating peanuts triggers a natural response at the subconscious level making the company eat along with you.

Finally, for our redesign of the ritual we came to the conclusion that we did not want to design a product or make drastic changes to the ritual itself. We decided to increase the social aspect of being in a Dutch bar. The picture above shows a rough prototype of two bowls with each a part of a famous quote on the bottom.

In this case we took the classic "Luke, I am"  and "your father." from Star Wars. The idea behind this is once the bowl is empty a line appears and one has to complete the sentence by going table to table interacting with strangers. Once you found its connection, you will receive a free refill at the bar when showing up together with both of the bowls. 

The idea behind this is to give people an opportunity to increase socializing between strangers with a small reward without being obtrusive or ruining the ritual by drastically changing it. People that have no interest in doing so are not obliged to be involved as it is optional.

For an overview of the pictures taken and the situations sketched/acted can be found here.

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