A Diller + Scofidio sketch begs the question (by looking at dinner-table etiquette forward and backwards) could we redesign dinner-table conversation?
What if we studied dinner party usepaths — “ways of doing things which are typical and which tend to work according to the people who most commonly perform the activity in question,” in Tim Boucher’s helpful definition — and redesigned our dining rooms, table cloths, and place settings accordingly?
Subtle tweaks could encourage cross-table conversation, or make it hard for the guest who always drinks too much to get hold of their wine glass. Playful hosts could insert thought-provoking obstacles into the decor, guaranteed to interrupt force of habit and prompt discussion. And teaching kids table manners might no longer be such a struggle, since the dining environment itself would reinforce them.