50 Times People Spotted Stupid Design Decisions In Public Places And Just Had To Share
We often form our opinion of a city by judging the quality of its public spaces. If they give us a hard time, most likely we won't be too psyched about returning to it.
And unfortunately, there are plenty of ways urban planners and interior designers ruin our everyday life and force us into dreadful anxiety-inducing situations.
They make us sit on uncomfortable benches, walk around trippy floors, and go number two in bathroom stalls so revealing, others are able to see our facial expressions.
To show how ridiculous it can get, Fashion Life has put together some of the worst public space "solutions" ever created—we deserve better!
The Chairs Waiting For You In The Laser Eye Clinic's Reception
"I'm Sure You're All Wondering Why I've Gathered You Here Today"
To learn more about the topic, I got in touch with interior architect and lecturer of interior design at Vilnius College of Design, Judita Striukienė.
When we hear the term public space, we usually think of the outdoors. "Places like parks, gardens, and squares are often popular city attractions," Striukienė told Fashion Life. "They not only provide environmental and recreational benefits but also form a city's identity."
However, public spaces can also be indoors. "These interiors can be both functional and aesthetic," Striukienė said.
"Think of health service establishments, for example. A well-executed professional interior design can even have a positive effect on the patients. It can relieve their stress and put them in a calmer state of mind."
In fact, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, the co-founder of the architecture firm Snøhetta, argues that architects must begin considering indoor space just as public as outdoor space.
"Maybe with the sole exception of railway stations, public space is generally understood as outdoor space," Thorsen wrote. "Whether in the United States or in Europe, especially now with heightened concerns around security, there seems to be this determined way of privatizing everything that is indoors, even as we are increasingly aiming to improve access to public space outdoors. But in the layered systems of our cities of the future, we will need to focus on the public spaces that are found inside buildings—and make them accessible."
At First Glance, I Didn’t Recognize This Restaurant Mural As The Sun
To get his point across, Thorsen highlighted a map of Rome made in 1748 by Giambattista Nolli. It only had two distinctions—what was private and what was public. "Whether it was indoor or outdoor, whether there was a church space or a plaza, it didn't really matter. [The map] told a different story of the city."
"There are some examples from today—the roof of our Oslo Opera House is outdoors, for instance, but it's on the building and publicly accessible. Opening up the Louvre and trying to let people walk through it 24 hours a day—as with the museum's recent takeover by the artist JR—is another way of not making a distinction between indoor and outdoor public space."
This Fountain That Looks Like A Perfect Place To Sit Down
Gas Station In Nebraska. The Station's Color Scheme Was Red. They Tried To Get Artsy
Thorsen thinks such decisions are essential to the way new architecture typologies develop, and architects should definitely have an influence on them.
"In certain situations, accessibility to indoor public space is enough," he said. "In other situations, you have to define the program for the particular indoor or outdoor spaces to be adequate. To use the example of the roof of the Opera House in Oslo again, it was basically programmed only for one thing, and that's to be walked on, for a promenade. But on occasion, it could be reprogrammed to hold an outdoor concert. Or it could be reprogrammed against the original intention by skaters or by a biker who actually drives his motorbike up and down the roof."
Flat Carpet In A Hotel In Cologne, Germany Imitating A Curvy Surface
The Design Of My School - This Is The Place Where Every Hallway Intersects
Two Windows Of My Workplace Are Constantly Fighting For The Honor Of Being The One Who Is Going To Be Opened
The city belongs to its citizens. No matter if we're talking about what's inside or outside. And, according to Thorsen, these two dimensions can even intertwine.
"Maybe the outdoor can be programmed in such a way that it unlocks the possibility of the public spaces indoors. There's always a bit of urban planning in designing interiors. There's always a bit of interior design in an urban space. There's no question that interior architecture is professionalizing itself as well—interior architects are not seen as decorators of interior space anymore. The same is true of landscape architects. And those are only the traditional design professions," the architect said.
The Single Worst Clock I Have Ever Seen. I Actually Said Aloud "Whyyy"
Ballroom Where Everyone Downstairs Can See Up Your Skirt
Of course, that doesn't mean that every architect needs to be trained in every specialized profession. What Thorsen meant was that the industry is lacking an overall understanding of how people should collaborate.
"That's why we've introduced transposition as a working method in our office, where you not only sit around tables with a lot of specialists, but you actually swap professions during creative workshops," he said. "The only thing that can save the essence of architecture is some kind of collaborative model like this."
This Chandelier At A Restaurant I Ate At Bothers Me So Much
By adopting this model both in education and practice, Thorsen believes we would be better equipped to fully understand the effects of programming.
"We are usually generalists enough to understand that a change of use is sometimes demanded and that we shouldn't try to desperately hold on to certain kinds of programming. But the profession itself should, in my opinion, really contain that kind of knowledge, simply because it’s so tightly connected to the actual design task."
As these pictures show, we need to improve the relationship between buildings and the public. And Thorsen thinks there's no way we can do that without getting directly involved in programming ourselves.
Designed For Dissuading The Homeless. Literally Just Uncomfortable For Everyone Else
$1 Toothbrushes Locked Behind Glass At Walmart. Walked Around The Store For 15 Minutes Looking For Someone “Qualified” To Unlock The Glass Case
Then had to be escorted to the register with said $1 toothbrush. I could walk out of here with an air fryer easier than a toothbrush
Toilet Door With Another Door In It That Won't Stay Closed
This Is The Logo For A "New York Style" Pizza Place In Ponce, Puerto Rico
I Don't Know Why Brown Strings Is A Welcoming Wallpaper To This Toilet Entrance. It Just Feels Gross And Unwelcoming. I Mean, This Is A Public Place
Upon Walking In This Bathroom At The Supermarket I Was Initially Disgusted At Filth And Lack Of Cleanliness Until A Closer Look Revealed It Was Designed This Way
The Lobby Of This Medical Office Has An Alligator In The Floor
Not Exactly The Color Pattern You Like To See In A Bathroom
This Poster In My School Cafeteria Is So Badly Designed They Put Arrows So You Can Read It Correctly
Not Sure If This Belongs Here But In My Opinion This Is The Real Problem With America. It's A Toilet Stall If You Were Wondering
New Toilets At Work, Wonderful View On Our Interior Courtyard
I Had To Stop While Ordering Food At A Local Restaurant Because I Saw This Poster
Went In To A Bathroom In Airport And Was Surprised With This. Almost Turned Towards Exit Before Realization
Note: this post originally had 129 images. It’s been shortened to the top 49 images based on user votes.