Gazy wanted her Sedentary Laboratory project to highlight the impact of sitting for long periods of time in a way that would be visually impactful, without “pointing fingers” or blaming people for poor lifestyle habits.
“Current lifestyles are sedentary,” Gazy told Dezeen. “The body is immobile, but we are mentally hypermobile because of technology. I wanted to highlight this unconscious behaviour by making it visible.”
According to Gazy, people in the Netherlands sit for an average of 8.7 hours a day, increasing to 10.4 hours for young people aged between 12 and 20 years old.
The main impacts are the higher risk of early death associated with higher risk of type-two diabetes and heart and cardiovascular diseases. Other related problems include depression, mobility issues and an increased likelihood of certain types of cancer.
The designer consulted a physiotherapist to discuss the type of injuries he encounters resulting from prolonged sitting, and exaggerated them to create a twisted, weakened figure of a man with a hunched back, craned neck, withered legs and damaged organs.
The clothes and furniture she presented during this year’s Dutch Design Week were designed for this conceptual, future man.
A chair back tilts forward at an uncomfortable angle and is made up of dense wads of padding to accommodate his hunched back, and a tabletop is punctured with handholds so he can haul himself to his feet.
Oxygen canisters are attached to the table’s legs to assist the man’s suppressed lung with breathing.
His suit jacket is tailored to fit a hunched back and forward-thrusting posture, while a pair of trousers is cut to be most comfortable in a seated position. For walking, Gazy designed a cane stick on wheels, because “pushing is more convenient”.
“I designed it for both older and younger users because even children have more problems today to keep their balance when putting on shoes and socks,” she said.
Gazy explained that the drab aesthetic of the calico suit and basic design of the furniture is supposed to enhance the dramatic effect and recall the design of medical tools and equipment.
“The products are actually more like 3D sketches,” said Gazy. “I am not a product designer, but I wanted to trigger the imagination to give an insight into a not very pretty future.”
“I wanted to ‘design discomfort’, to shock but with humour. Data just doesn’t drive behaviour change and doctors can provide numbers about health risks, but I believe we need things – images – that we can relate to.”
Gazy presented her Sedentary Laboratory project at this during this year’s Dutch Design Week, which took place from 21 to 29 October in Eindhoven.
Other projects on show at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show included a collection of small objects made from animal blood, and a bicycle rack that disappears into the pavement when not in use.
Photography is by Iris Rijskamp.
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