Artist Calls Out ‘Designs Against Humanity’ That Make People’s Lives Worse – Prosyscom


Image by hostiledesign and featured with permission

Design can bring people together, but it can also divide them. The scary thing about offensive design is that it’s often executed so surreptitiously, you wouldn’t be able to tell when its effects have rubbed off on you.

British artist Stuart Semple—who previously invented ‘BLACK 2.0’, an open-source version of the world’s blackest pigment—has decided to call out the creators and commissioners of hostile design, which refers to design that underhandedly discriminates people.

Semple dubs this worrying phenomenon as “designs against humanity.” Examples include benches built with dividers to prevent the homeless from sleeping on them, as well as “annoying music” in public spaces to ward off loiterers.

A handful of photos showing benches with “anti-homeless bars” that the artist had uploaded on Facebook ended up amassing one million views in a day. This spurred him to launch ‘HostileDesign.org’, a project that encourages people around the world to “name and shame” unfriendly design.

Big shout out to Bournemouth Bournemouth council for their latest Design Crime. This latest piece of hostile design is…

Posted by Stuart Semple on Saturday, January 27, 2018

“Design should be used to make things better for people,” Semple said in a press statement. “I didn’t spend time at art and design school to learn to make stuff that makes people’s lives worse.”

“I knew straight away what it was because I spend a lot of my time looking at public furniture—this is designed for one reason and one reason only and that’s to tell homeless people they are not welcome here.”

His beliefs echo those of design legend Milton Glaser, who famously said, “Design is the process of going from an existing condition to a preferred one.” In 2017, Glaser also created a collection of subway posters that aimed to fight exclusion and make “people feel they are involved in something together.”

Semple hopes to one day eradicate hostile design, but understands it doesn’t take just one man to fix the problem. He’s put up a set of ‘Design Crime’ stickers on ‘HostileDesign.org’ that anyone around the world can purchase at any amount they can afford—“or free if you have no money!”

Those who would like to participate in the campaign are encouraged to paste a sticker on any artifact of hostile design near them, take a picture, and upload it on Instagram with the hashtag ‘#HostileDesign’.

So far, Semple and supporters of the movement have set up ‘Love Benches’, decorating them with sofa covers, cushions, heart-shaped balloons, and gifts, to welcome bench sleepers.

“All metal bars do is divide us,” the artist said. “They don’t solve the deeper problems and issues. It’s time we looked at the causes of societal issues rather than designing them out of the public realm. Public furniture should be designed to bring people together, not keep them away from each other. This kind of hostile architecture is the opposite of what I’m about.”

Check out the ‘HostileDesign.org’ website to see contributions from communities around the globe and follow Stuart Semple’s portfolio, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, to keep up with his meaningful projects.


Hostile design “might take the form of bars or dividers on benches, to stop sleepers,” explained Semple. Image by hostiledesign and featured with permission


“A good example might be spikes attached to a doorway or ledge to prevent people sleeping there.” Image by hostiledesign and featured with permission


“Once you start looking you will see it happening all over the place,” described Semple. Image by hostiledesign and featured with permission


Image by hostiledesign and featured with permission


Image by hostiledesign and featured with permission


Image by hostiledesign and featured with permission

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[Images by hostiledesign and featured with permission]



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