In her bachelor thesis, Tamara Zgraggen examines the subject of provocation as a social act in the medium of furniture. Based on the analysis of four provocative design classics of the 20th century, she then created her own provocative piece of seating furniture. Her work has been nominated for the Cologne Design Prize. Here she explains to us how she approached the issue.
Design classics such as the Mae West Lips Sofa by Salvador Dalí, the Chair by Allen Jones, the Poltrona di Proust by Alessandro Mendini and the W.W. Stool by Philippe Starck were analyzed. In the course of this process, I investigated which types and techniques of provocation exist in furniture and found that these types of provocation always refer to the respective zeitgeist as well as society with its norms and taboos.
The furniture I designed represents a socio-critical commentary that is intended to stimulate an examination of the objectification of the female body, its idealization in the form of beauty ideals as well as its often sensual representation. The current ideal is that of a big bottom with big breasts and a wasp waist, it is iconically represented by Kim Kardashian. It is also present in various media, such as music videos, both visually and lyrically, or in the form of butt-enhancing clothing, and is almost fetishized.
The provocation occurs through the ironically exaggerated materialization of the ideal in the form of an armchair, its objectification, and by the use of sensual connotations. These are expressed visually, through the way of sitting and interacting with the seating furniture as well as the invitation to haptically take hold of the furniture. In its form, the furniture is a sculptural statement piece that ensures appropriate seating comfort through an ergonomic shape of the upholstery.
Pictures by Hanna Freres