The benches, which the Bournemouth Council retrofitted with bars to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them. Photo: Stuart Semple.

British Artist Works to Abolish “Hostile Design”

British artist and curator Stuart Semple wants to abolish “hostile design” across the globe, Anny Shaw of the Art Newspaper reports. Semple was motivated to launch his campaign against what he calls “designs against humanity” when his hometown, Bournemouth, on the southern coast of England, retrofitted bars to park benches to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them.

While Bournemouth added the bars several months ago, people began speaking out against the modifications only after Semple posted a photograph with commentary on his Facebook last weekend. People are now invited draw attention to these “design crimes” by submitting photographs of objects “made specifically to exclude, harm, or otherwise hinder the freedom of a human being” on Semple’s new website. The artist is also selling stickers on the site (one pound per sheet) so participants can easily label these offenses.  

“Hopefully this campaign will enable everyone to highlight hostile design in their own towns and cities and put a stop to this brutal, inhumane practice. Our towns and cities should be for everyone,” Semple said.