The Oval Office for the 21st Century is a design concept study to help the U.S. President hear and feel the voice of the People in the most engaging manner.
This study was done to investigate the way in which design can serve as a vehicle to empower the role of the voice of the people in the field of politics.
The concept is based on the belief that it would be beneficial to have the President hear and feel the voice of the People in the space where s/he works.
The study was carried out in 2005, the year of the conception of the Social Media(Facebook:2004 YouTube:2005 Twitter:2006), in order to envision the Voice of the People coming together socially and technologically, to allow the President hear and feel the voice of People, all occurring within the physical space of the Oval Office.
Today, it is possible to consolidate the Voice of the People by combining Social Media, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality, and deliver the holistic experience to the President via the Oval Office of the 21st Century.
The President of the United States needs to listen to the people of the United States of America.
This need is fulfilled effectively by the newly designed Oval Office.
The illustration above shows the view taken from behind the People’s Station, looking towards the direction of the Arc of the President desk.
The large circular window is located on the south behind the desk, providing natural sunlight for the President.
The window glass is bullet-proof, and the even more robust mechanical blinds located on the exterior of the building(not shown) have been moved out of the way to let daylight into the space.
On the far right, the People’s Voice speaker unit has been rotated towards this direction to make visible the People’s Eye 360-VR teleconferencing camera, located in the same housing as the speaker unit. The speaker unit lets out the omnidirectional sound of the voice of the People, which will reflect off of the walls of the Oval Office, and heard by the President who sits at the desk.
The resulting experience is that the President will be totally immersed in the voice of the people.
Shown on the floor are the top surfaces of the Hiding Sofas and the Oval Table, which have been mechanically rotated to the closed position and lowered into the floor, to move out of the way for the traveling sound waves. With the furniture out of the way, the Oval Office can also be used to accommodate larger meetings with standing attendees, allowing free conversations.
This will promote more interaction between administrative bodies and heads of other nations who will be visiting.
The video was produced when the global internet community did not have one-minute patience limit. Please skip to 1:45 and 2:33 for design explanations, and come back for the portions regarding information on the background and the premise of the design rationale.
The explanation and rationale behind the mathematics, the science, the design of the space, furniture, the functions and the usage configurations of the overall design are provided below.
The Mathematics and the Science
The mathematical and scientific rationale behind the design of the physical space is based on the reflective property of the geometry of the Ellipse with the family of Conic Section Curves, and the resulting acoustical behavior and experience.
Elliptical pool table design allows the ball to always arrive at the other focus point.
The form factor of the Oval Office 21C space is created by revolving the elliptical curve around the long axis, in order to create a Three-Dimensional space which guarantees that a listener at the other point can always listen to the voice of the other.
The sound wave originating from one of the foci of the ellipse will always bounce off the wall and be reflected onto the other.
This elliptical profile curve has been spun around the axis which connects the two foci, to arrive at an ellipsoid form. It is this ellipsoid form which defines the contour of the inner wall surface of the Oval Office. Both foci are placed at
Both foci are placed at ear-level height, one of them at the President’s Chair, and the other focus point precisely aligned with the People’s Voice omni-directional speaker at the opposite side of the room. Because the echoing sound waves reach the President’s ear from all possible directions, the People’s voice will sound much richer and fuller than the President’s own voice.
In addition, the entire People’s Station can be mechanically lowered into the floor, allowing any visiting Head of another nation can sit down at the other focus to converse with our President. The result will be that each person will hear the other person’s voice to be much louder than himself/herself, despite the distance between them. The physical & symbolic significance of respecting the voice of the other is presented as a single holistic experience.
Physical functionalities are provided as well as the fulfillment of symbolic needs.
There are functional purposes behind the design of the furniture, along with the reasons for why they look like they do.
Arc of the President Desk
The edge of the desk facing the President follows the curvature movement of the floor. This allows comfortable movement into and out of the desk.
The arc on the opposite side of the desk is part of a circle, with the President’s seating located at the center of the circle. This is to allow the administrative members to sit at equal distances to the President, which is consistent with the George Washington’s original seating arrangement while he had conversed with his administrative bodies.
This circular telescoping table has yet another telescoping column in the center. In addition to fulfilling the basic physical functionality as a table, the center column holds at its top an Omni-directional speaker, People’s Voice, to deliver the voice of the People; it also houses a 360-degree VR camera, People’s Eye, to capture and broadcast the events in the Oval Office to the people. The entire table and the column can be mechanically lowered into the floor, allowing a visiting person to sit precisely at the location of the center column of the table, with the ears and the mouth aligned with one of the two foci of the ellipsoidal interior space. The President sits at the other focus, at the Arc of the President Desk, to carry out the conversation with the visitor in immersive and engaging manner.
Ordinary sofas with bulky form factor will disrupt the traveling of the sound waves when the President listens to the people or converses with the visiting heads of foreign states (see example configurations below).
The Hiding Sofa’s special form factor and its motorized technology allow them to be hidden by mechanically rotating and moving into the floor, in order to not interfere with the traveling of the sound waves, as well as to provide clear line-of-sight from the People’s Eye camera to the President.
The Oval Table can raise itself when accommodating the physical functional need for a table surface, and can also lower itself into the floor to clear the way for the traveling sound wave. This guarantees the highest possible quality of conversation to take place between the President and the people.
It is without a doubt that part of the role which the USA and its President serves to the world is the role of the mitigator in the various affairs of the world.
To acknowledge and address this need, the Mitigating Chair provides the middle-ground seating between the two seats to be occupied by those who hold two different points of view.
The center seat can be rolled out, moved to the other side of the People’s Station, and then turned around to face the two visiting bodies who need mitigation.
The People’s Eye 360-degree VR camera and its integrated microphone captures the event and broadcast the meeting to the people of America and the world. When meeting with only one other person, the President can sit side-by-side with the visitor by having the center portion of the seat lowered into the floor.
This is the configuration which most resembles the layout of the current Oval Office.
In this configuration, the Hiding Sofa, the Oval Table, the Mitigating Chair, and the People’s Station can be configured to perform as furniture for typical, basic physical needs. The form factor of the Arc of the President desk provides the arc on the front edge of the desk necessary to bring back the original layout used by George Washington, who sat at equal distances from all and every administrative member who were taking part in the meeting.
This is the configuration which lets the President listen to the People.
In this configuration, the Hiding Sofa, the Oval Table, the Mitigating Chair, and the table portion of the People’s Station have been put away into the floor, to allow the quality of sound and communication between the People and the President.
The speaker portion of the People’s Station has been raised to the height of one of the foci of the ellipsoid space, releasing the voice of the people to reach the President’s ears, located at the other focus of the ellipsoidal room. The reflected sound waves will reach the President’s ears from all directions.
In addition to the President listening to the People’s Voice, the people can also watch the image of the President through the People’s Eye 360 VR camera, and listen to his voice captured through the integrated microphone.
This is the configuration which lets the President converse with the visiting Head of another nation.
As with the Listening Configuration, The Hiding Sofa and the Oval Table have been hidden away into the floor to allow maximum quality of sound and effective communication between the President and the visiting Head.
The entire People’s Station has been lowered down to the floor, as well as the two of the three seats that are part of the Mitigating Chair. The center seat will then be occupied by the visitor, who will have his/her ears aligned with the focus location of the reflected sounds.
The Mitigating Chair can also be used to converse with the visiting Head in another way. It is possible for only the center seat of the Mitigating Chair to be put away, with two seats left for our President and the visitor to converse with each other, side by side.
With the two leaders are sitting side-by-side, the People’s Eye 360 VR camera and its microphone are available in front of them to broadcast the leaders’ conversation to the people of the America and the world.
The Mitigating Chair / People’s Station
Mitigating Chair / People’s Station Configurations
Please stay tuned for further details and updates.
HyukJae Henry Yoo ©2005