Today’s Urban Design Observation: Failures of Design Lead to the Need for Aftermarket Products

The storefront for this appointment-only, high-end jewelry store in SoHo has a shabby appearance.

The black paint probably looked chic for the first week after it was applied. But now it is chipped and peeling, and we see that black is a poor choice because it readily shows dust. The paint is also peeling on the “Fuck Off, Don’t Sit Here” protuberances.

About those protuberances. The job of the designer is to create a space that serves the client’s needs. But these windows have been set back, meaning passersby can sit on the sill. This store doesn’t want that, so has installed the protuberances.

I inspected them and they are made from injection-molded plastic. They, too, have not weathered well and are cracking.

If the designer had anticipated the client’s needs, there would be no need for them to have purchased and installed these strips. But enough designers have not considered this, so some company is able to invest in the tooling and factory space to mold and sell these because there is a demand, and some handyman or carpenter is then hired to install them. A failure of design, then, has unwittingly created jobs.