Athens based architect Katerina Kamprani is working on a compelling, if slightly peculiar, new project: The Uncomfortable.
She’s redesigning everyday objects to be highly inconvenient. From toeless rain boots, to furry dishware, to a nonsensical watering can, her work is reminiscent of modern-art installations. The point may not be immediately clear, but you just can’t look away.
I caught up with Kamprani to ask what this project is all about.
Where’d you come up with The Uncomfortable project? Why did you call it The Uncomfortable?
There was no plan for the project, the idea simply popped into my mind. It is surely connected with some courses I had on design and user interaction. I also really enjoy comedy, and once I had one uncomfortable image into my mind, I thought it might be a good idea to analyse user interactions with everyday objects while having fun. The name came naturally. The goal while designing these objects is to make them uncomfortable.
Are you surprised by the reactions you’ve gotten to the project? What’s been the most surprising response?
I am very surprised. It is a project I really love, but I never thought it would have such a global reaction. The most surprising thing to me was when I had a request for the usage of the images to express political views.
Do you think your background in architecture, industrial design, and animation influenced the project? How?
Yes, I think this is the main reason I started thinking like that. I would not say I have a background in animation, although I had a phase that I wanted to do animation.
The third ingredient for The Uncomfortable mix was a very short internship with an ad agency in Greece. There I tried to think out of the box and many surreal thoughts came to the surface.
As an architect I am used to mistakes in construction and I was always fascinated by the imagination of some handyman interpreting in their own way the architectural drawings.
Also I can’t really say I am a designer, but the brief introduction with concepts like user interaction was very inspiring to me.
Industrial designers and engineers are taught to solve problems and ask “will it work?” This project is the opposite. Are you rebelling?
When I began this project I thought that there was very little chance of me becoming a designer in a country that is in decay. By trying to rethink objects I felt more close to being a designer, it gave me a purpose. Also laughing at absurd ideas kept me on this project, it is really all about using what I learned and having fun.
The Uncomfortable project forces us to really think about the way we design and interact with everyday objects. Was this your intention?
Yes it is my intention, but actually I am trying to challenge myself first and then everybody else.
What’s your favorite Uncomfortable?
The watering can. It is useless, but it seems so expressive. I feel like it has a personality.
Does this notion of uncomfortable manifest itself in other areas of your life or personality?
Ha! I just ended my previous sentence with the word personality! Yes, I find myself feeling uncomfortable in many situations and some times I really have to work hard to communicate. So maybe this is why I designed these objects like that!
Outside of The Uncomfortable, what big projects are you working on right now?
I wish I could answer this differently, but my answer is: none. I am struggling as a freelancer and find myself having very little time for new artistic projects. What an uncomfortable truth that is, being a designer or an artist seems so expensive. No funds, no fun.
See the full collection from The Uncomfortable project.
Images courtesy of Katerina Kamprani