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8 Public Spaces that Manipulate You with Their Frustrating Design

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Unpleasant design is all around us. We see them in signs with awful fonts, in badly placed buildings, and even in household items like furniture and kitchenware. However, who would have thought that unpleasant design could have a purpose?

In the book called “Unpleasant Design” by Gordan Savičić and Selena Savić, they discuss how some designs intentionally make people feel uncomfortable, and thus limiting the use of certain objects to their only intended use. Here are some examples of designs they have seen in public spaces.

1. Metal obstacles in public benches

These metal rods and bolts prevent skaters, BMX riders and rollerskaters from using benches to perform grinding tricks.

2. Handrails with a sandpaper-like texture

The unpleasant texture of the rails prevent people from climbing or holding the handrails. It’s especially useful for preventing potential suicide victims from coming near the edge of high-altitude bridges.

3. Anti-climbing paint

The non-drying, transferring oil-based paint keeps the surface slippery, thus keeping climbers, graffiti artists, and burglars from scaling or damaging the walls.

4. Stiff, cold benches that keep your feet from touching the floor

The coldness and hardness of these benches keep people from resting on them for very long periods.

5. Rotterdam's “leaning” benches

Like the previous entry, these benches keep you from sitting on the benches for more than just a few minutes.

6. Benches with tiny armrests

This design keeps people from lying down on the benches, and they also keep skaters from using them for tricks.

7. Slanted garbage bins

These garbage bins prevent people from sitting on them or placing trash on top of the bins.

8. Anti-injection lights

These blue lights make blood vessels less visible, thus preventing junkies from shooting up in places where these blue lights can be found. The calming blue light can also help people calm down.

Have you seen any of these unpleasant but useful designs in your area? Share them with us below!

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