The Uncomfortable is a collection of simple everyday objects whose fundamental properties have been tweaked, deliberately making them inconvenient. Overturning the traditional design language and conceptual models of our domestic reality, they challenge our expectations of functionality, leading to an appreciation for the conventional through faulty design. The semiotics of the original designs are maintained, deceiving the user and subverting his expectations, giving the resulting objects an awkward, absurd, and often surreal quality. Most of the items in this series are virtual 3D models rather than physical objects. In order to create them, Katerina Kamprani analyzes every little step in the way they interact with the user and sabotages them discretely. She then renders them in a clean environment, just like a product photoshoot, tricking the viewer into visualizing their use as if they were actual products. See for yourself in the gallery below and visit Kamprani’s Instagram Page.
How can an object be incredibly, exquisitely, perfectly designed – and a colossal pain in the ass to use?
That’s precisely what Katerina Kamprani shows us with “The Uncomfortable”, a collection of familiar household objects rendered aggravatingly unusable with a few simple adjustments.
The ranks include open-toed rain boots, a pitcher that pours back into itself, and a button as thick as a thumb.
Kamprani, a designer and architect in Athens, creates the objects with 3D rendering software. Her first stubborn creation was a closet with doors that opened inward.
The conceit is clever enough on its own, but Kamprani’s poetic execution is what makes the project so great.
Each object stays largely faithful to the materials and forms of the original; typically there’s just one deft change that sends its utility flying out the window.
Kamprani starts by recreating the steps it takes to use an object, isolating a single interaction to sabotage.
She consults with friends and draws sketches, auditioning a variety of tweaks and transformations until she’s found just the right one. “I know an idea is good when it is so ridiculous I even surprise myself,” she says.
“This project started after I failed to finish my studies in industrial design around 2011 and it has continued to grow ever since.”
“My goal is to deconstruct the invisible design language of simple everyday objects and tweak their fundamental properties in order to surprise you and make you laugh.”
“But also to help you appreciate the complexity and depth of interactions with the simplest of objects around us.”
“As a poor designer I have started the project by making conceptual 3D visualizations, but recently I have decided to spend all my savings to produce prototypes, because what would the world be if there were no Uncomfortable objects out there?”
“I design them for fun; they don’t have any purpose. The only aim for me was to find the most uncomfortable, the most unexpected item.”
“But I think it works more on the educational side – someone sees it, then he laughs about it, and then thinks: “Oh, really?” The viewer really understands how much design has to be carefully made for such a simple object, so it works enough that you do not even pay attention to it. It has to be a really good design for you not caring about it.”
“When I went into that school – and in the architecture school also – I think that the main clues we got from our education were to be unique in what we design, and to be a pioneer.”
“So students feel the need to be pioneers in what they do. Because if you do something like very old but well designed, it’s a ‘no’.”
“If civilization collapses or something like that, I would love that someone like a historian tries to make sense of these objects.”
“Because I’m sure that a theoretical person would find something behind them, something very serious to say about my designs. It would be very interesting, I think.”