(A Simple Bench, Officer)
During my MA at MMU School of Art I engaged with the concept of Critical Design, the result of which was the ASBO. Influenced by the designs of 1950's telephone table/benches and the overt hostile architecture becoming more prevalent in our modern city spaces. ASBO offers the user/s the experience of having an object of beauty infused with the tactics of hostile architecture in the domestic setting. It asks whether we are willing to give up some of our own comfort in order to offer a comfort to another.
Critical Design: A term first used by Anthony Dunne in his book, Hertzian Tales (1999), referring to an attitude toward design rather than a movement or method. It follows in the footsteps of other practices (like Radical Design in Italy and avant-garde British architecture of the late 1960s and early 1970s) that have regarded design as a way to pose incisive questions, challenge the status quo, and think deeply about the possible future consequences of present choices. Critical Design is speculative, conceptual, provocative, and can be darkly satirical. It does not always lead to usable products, but it does produce long-term thinking, a nuanced view of consumers as complex, contradictory individuals, and alternative solutions suggesting that change is always possible, even inevitable - MoMA, 2020