Competition Brief

We are interested in a specific design process which we call “unpleasant design”. This process is an urban phenomenon which subconsciously invades our everyday experience. It includes persuasive design solutions aimed specifically at making people uncomfortable in public space, or changing people’s usual behaviour. For example, a Mc-Donalds chair is purposefully designed to become uncomfortable if sat on for longer than 15 minutes. A Mosquito-like sound device works as a safety and security tool for preventing youths from congregating in specific areas. It is promoted to reduce anti-social behaviour such as loitering, graffiti, vandalism, etc. by producing a high pitched sound which only young people are able to hear. Benches in public spaces in Rotterdam (and many other cities) are separated by dividers so that people can’t lay (and sleep) on them. Obviously, the latter example implies that both, a political and a design decision has been made on purpose to prevent (homeless) people from sleeping on benches. Is this really the way to deal with the homeless? Does it solve any problems?