Take a seat and start a con­ver­sa­tion

Sit on the Con­ver­sa­tion Chair and make a con­nec­tion

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - cait­lyn@7days.ae

You can do it with strangers, or friends, and it won’t take long. If you are open to it, you should feel re­ally good. Sit­ting and hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with a to­tal stranger may sound ter­ri­fy­ing to some. But it’s the aim of the Same­ness Project’s ‘Con­ver­sa­tion Chair’.

This week­end, at the Lu­l­ule­mon cloth­ing store in Mall of the Emi­rates, the chair will be set up for peo­ple look­ing to chat.

Founder of the Same­ness Pro­jec, Lina Na­haas says the chair em­bod­ies the whole phi­los­o­phy of her ini­tia­tive.

She said: “It’s about hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion - and peo­ple con­nect­ing. It’s how to re­late to other peo­ple on a hu­man level; and find that mo­ment of same­ness.”

The idea, where some­one sim­ply sits down in a chair, pulls down a bal­loon, reads the ques­tion and starts talk­ing, was in­spired by a vi­ral video - The Ball-Pit by Soul Pan­cake.

In the video, strangers on a street in the US get to­gether in a ball-pit and have mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions with one an­other.

Lina ex­plains: “We saw this video and thought it’s such a great idea. Par­tic­u­larly in Dubai - which peo­ple of­ten say is so im­per­sonal. You know ev­ery­one asks ‘where are you from’, ‘what do you do?’ so this is a way of bring­ing peo­ple to­gether - and talk­ing about deeper things.” Lina al­ready owned the chair - aptly named ‘The Con­ver­sa­tion Chair’ from In­dex 2004 - an award-win­ning de­sign by Mark Scott, so all that was needed was a bit of en­cour­age­ment and a few bal­loons. And if you feel too shy or ner­vous? Lina says: “It’s for ev­ery­one. Of­ten it takes one of us to get the ball rolling, but once it has started, peo­ple are nat­u­rally in­quis­i­tive, and want a turn.

“For those who are shy, it’s fine - you can even just chat with friends on the chair, but I think once you see the con­cept, you’d want to get in­volved and speak to a to­tal stranger, and pos­si­bly make a new friend.”

The chair will be in Lu­l­ule­mon, MOE un­til Satur­day. See the lu­l­u­lue­mon­dubai page on Face­book.

CITY TALK: Strangers can bond with each other over topics al­ready writ­ten onto the bal­loons

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