Brighton student’s anti-manspreading chair wins national award

Posted On 05 Jul 2019 at 1:14 pm

A University of Brighton designer who created a chair to help stop ‘manspreading’ in public spaces has won a national prize.

Laila Laurel, who will graduate from her 3D Design and Craft degree later this month, won the Belmond Award at New Designers in London, a major showcase of work from universities across the UK.

Laila’s design – entitled A Solution for Manspreading – is crafted so that men have to sit with their legs closed, as a way of preventing them spreading their legs and encroaching the space of others.

She has also made a second seat intended for women which, via a small piece of wood in the middle, encourages sitters to extend their legs wider apart.

Laila said: “I am completely shocked but very happy and honoured to have won the Belmond Award – and I am looking forward to designing with them this year.”

As part of her prize, Laila will be commissioned to create a product for the hotel and leisure company.

The panel of judges at New Designers said Laila’s work was: “a bold, purpose-driven design that explores the important role of design in informing space, a person’s behaviour and society issues of today.”

Of the inspiration behind her A Solution for Manspreading, Laila said: “It came both from my own experiences of men infringing on my space in public, and also from The Everyday Sexism Project, a website founded by Laura Bates in which women self-testify about sexism they experience.

“With my chair set I hoped to draw awareness to the act of sitting for men and women and inspire discussion around this.”

Graduating Product Design students at the University won the Best Stand Award at New Designers, fulfilling the criteria of imaginative and cleverly presented ideas with a considered overall look and feel along with the quality of work displayed.

Meanwhile Product Design graduand Jack Moore came runner-up in the New Designers 100% Award, which recognises emerging talented designers, for his Kohay project – a piece of public furniture that aims to encourage positive social interactions.

George Gilliat was also a runner-up in the New Designers Lego Award for Playful Creativity category, for his product Totem Warriors – a buildable figure and trading card game in which players construct and battle gods from ancient worlds.

  1. Terry Reply

    So woman are encouraged to ‘manspread’ but males are prevented! Sounds very PC to me!

    • Dan Reply

      Completely agree with Terry, why make a chair to allow women to spread their legs?!?!

      • Simon Graves Reply

        You couldn’t make this up…

    • Patrick Bateman Reply

      The proper term is clamspreading.

  2. Semaj ligg Reply

    Can someone invent a seat that stops women making telephone calls in public or public transport?

    • Jeremy Reply

      Semaj, in my experience it’s actually men that have loud phone conversations in public transport.

  3. Jeff Reply

    And if the chairs get mixed up?

  4. Douglas Reply

    Now what is needed is a way of stopping women from spreading themselves, tneir shopping and their handbags onto the seats by their side.

    The number of times I have been glared at for asking a woman to clear a seat on public transport just so I can sit down is far more than the number of times a guy has had to move his leg over to give me the space.

    • Gus Reply

      The reason men manspread on public seating is that seats aren’t designed for people above 5,10.
      So when anyone taller sits down their knees are above their waist which makes it incredibly uncomfortable to keep the knees together for a length of time.
      It’s good that this person has had a go at tackling the problem but all that needs to happen is to raise the height of the seat which will reduce the ‘manspread’.The problem with this is that people under 5,10 will find it uncomfortable which is the vast majority of people in the UK.

      • Greg Allan Reply

        “So when anyone taller sits down their knees are above their waist which makes it incredibly uncomfortable to keep the knees together for a length of time.”

        Forcing men to keep their knees together on a moving vehicle robs them of vertical stability which significantly increases inertial effects on their bodies. It will cause lower back injuries in some.

  5. Pete Reply

    It’s a bonkers world.

  6. Georgia Reply


  7. Phil Reply

    It comes as no surprise that it was a design exasabating gender differences that won the award.

    Especially something so symbolically, if rolled out into ubiquity, demasculating; could you imagine subway carriages with everyone sat uniformly like this.

    Your ideology has led you down a bad path if you think you need fix the way an entire sex sits. Use your obviously abundant intellect and creativity to enrich people’s lives, not impose your “virtuous” beliefs.

  8. Colin Philcox Reply

    Stop the world I want to get off.

  9. Andrew Reply

    She’s obviously flunked basic human biology classes, they are called testicles no man is going to squash his balls by sitting like that.Which does explain why most liberal males sit in that way.

  10. Sanity Reply

    The overall width of the pelvis is relatively greater in females and the angle of the femoral neck is more acute. These factors could play a role in making a position of sitting with the knees close together less comfortable in men

  11. Nadimah Bogart Reply

    From the great minds of millennial designers, inspired by the inventive grievances of actual feminists: I bring you this literally award winning chair….. which “encourages positive social interactions” 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ Feminism need to stop.

  12. Pingback: Newsletter № 136 | This Week in Mobility

  13. Iain Reply

    Do chairs have a gender?

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