‘Anti-manspreading’ chair wins award in design expo
A design student in the United Kingdom won an award for her unique chairs that address “manspreading,” a term referring to the practice of men sitting with their legs wide apart to take more space, usually in public transportation.
Laila Laurel, a graduating 3D Design and Craft student from the University of Brighton, was among thousands of students who showcased their work at the exhibition New Designers in London. This year, the exhibition held in July put a spotlight on designs for social issues.
Laurel won the Belmond Award from the hotel and leisure company for her chairs entitled “A Solution for Manspreading,” the University of Brighton announced on July 5. The prize entails a commission to create a product for Belmond.
Her award-winning creation is a set of chairs: one for men and another for women. One chair is designed with wide sides and goes narrow in the front such that the person seated will have to close his legs. The chair for women encourages them to open their legs wide through a piece of wood in the middle.
She said in the school statement: “It came both from my own experiences of men infringing on my space in public, and also from The Everyday Sexism Project, a website founded by Laura Bates in which women self-testify about sexism they experience.”
“With my chair set I hoped to draw awareness to the act of sitting for men and women and inspire discussion around this.”
Belmond praised her work in a statement on Wednesday, July 17. “Laila’s bold, purpose-driven design stood out to our judging panel as it explores the important role of design in informing space, a person’s behavior and societal issues of today.” /ra