Gordan Savicic, Selena Savic – Unpleasant Design


G.L.O.R.I.A, ISBN-13: 978-8691091118, 216 pages, 2013, English

Some current strategies for urban control have been introduction and conducted without fanfare, implementing or modifying infrastructures in the city in a way that they can prevent crime or disturbances. Such strategies are mostly applied through design – benches that are impossible to lie on or toilets illuminated with blue light, so it’s not possible to locate veins on the body (and thus very difficult to inject anything into them). These methods apply a principle of “exclusion”, which has historically been used by authoritative regimes towards minorities. The two authors have traveled in Europe documenting these practices in this book, and in a way demystifying them. There are quite a number of techniques presented, illustrating a space that can be defined as a “silent conflict”. On the other hand the authors have also included art and design projects aimed at opposing this cynical approach, often applied to the same public infrastructures, reclaiming their openness and public status. Savicic and Savic define the unpleasant design as “algorithmic”, as it can be codified like an abstract process and applied to different situations/materials. The book includes essays, case studies, interviews and design projects. It’s also important to note that the book cover powerfully reflects its content – it sports a a large band of sandpaper and the damage it can do to other books on a shelf works as a perfect metaphor for repulsion. The project is meant to be a work in progress, and has a parallel blog that is frequently updated with new projects.