Berlin workshop tomorrow on "Unpleasant Design": urban design that bullies its users

Artists Selena Savić and Nikola Korać are continuing their excellent work on Unpleasant Design witha €20 workshop in Berlin on November 12 (tomorrow!). "Unpleasant Design" is Savić and Korać's name for design elements that are intended to be unpleasant for human beings in order to control their behaviour (for example, park benches with rigid handles that make it impossible to lie down).

The Earlier Unpleasant Design work included a competition to subvert "unpleasant design" whose winners included a systematic cramming of human beings into a space that was invisible to a heavily CCTV'ed area, and a portable bench that clipped onto a traffic pole, to ease the legs of people who sell tissues at stop-lights. There's an Unpleasant Design Book, too (its jacket is made of sandpaper, and it destroys any books you shelve it with) (here's a review).

This work continues on the excellent stuff Dan Lockton did with his long-running architectures of control in design, which I've written about a lot here (don't miss the deck of cards he made).


Notable Replies

  1. With a little wriggling, the arms on that bench make it impossible to fall off. Hat! Take THAT asshole bench-designers!

  2. As someone who has slept on benches for that very reason more than once, can I be the first to point out the 'selfish asshole' nature of your post? others will be along soon.

  3. Kimmo says:

    I'd say the sight of folks taking naps on benches says something good about a place.

  4. I've seen the sort of pigeon spikes you're talking about, and I don't think these were for the same purpose. They were much larger, only on windows reachable from street level, and had room enough for birds to perch between them.

    EDIT: Here's a picture.

  5. Or heaven forbid if some 'selfish' person doesn't feel well and could really use a lie-down for a moment. Or maybe some emo-type like me decides he really really REALLY needs to lay his head down on his sweetheart's lap just for a minute to make the demons go away. Come to think of it, not once have I ever passed someone lying down on a bench and thought to myself "that selfish bastard!"

Continue the discussion

31 more replies