Uncomfortable Design

Deepa Butoliya
University of Illinois at Chicago


Deepa Butoliya
University of Illinois at Chicago

Design has been long associated with practical problem solving and creating artifacts /things/products of aesthetic quality intended to make life better and efficient with an overarching motive of “Development”.

The author intends to explore the capacity of Design as a discourse for critique.

Design can be used as a tool to manifest or address dark underlying discomfort experienced by an individual or society as a whole. Uncomfortable design is a critical approach to address such psychological discomfort and confront it with an equally uncomfortable design of a device.

The author intends is to spark a debate/conversation/dialogue/discussion through her designs.

Through Uncomfortable Design, the author aims to challenge traditional design thinking and critique entire premise of Design as a rational process. The Big Question is if ‘Discomfort’ could become an ideal in design. Could there be uncomfortable solutions that address the issue and do not look like ART.

The author intends to trespass the boundaries set by society on the role of designer. The author is not making up a theory to create definitions rather keeps it ambiguous in nature and open to interpretation.

The author has investigated life events, relationships, and tragic incidents to address the hidden uncomfortable aspects in it and designed critical pieces that address the issues. The author has created such poetic pieces through Designed Objects.

It may or may not have a call for action rather stays with the viewer as a lingering thought making them uncomfortable at moments of random remembrance.

The Concept of Uncomfortable Design aims to contribute to the society through debate and reflection spurring a more intellectual engagement with products.