College student designs chair which stops 'manspreading'

College student designs chair which stops 'manspreading'

Occasionally, people take up too much space. Whether you sit next to someone on the bus, train or park bench, some tend to spread their legs to achieve maximum comfort, much to the chagrin of those around them.

The concept of "manspreading" hit social media a few years ago when women noticed men's legs spilling over into the seat next to them. As the action came to represent masculine dominance and authority, one student decided something must be done.

Credit: Laila Laurel

Laila Laurel, a 23-year-old, recently won a national award for a chair design to prevent manspreading. A soon-to-be graduate of University of Brighton, the 3D Design and Craft student created a product that would make any manufacturing or design engineer proud.

When she grew tired of overly comfortable men encroaching on her personal space on public transport, she decided to take down manspreading for good. Laila created a seat with two pieces of wood positioned so that a man's legs physically cannot move wider than his hips. Problem solved.

Credit: Laila Laurel

Her invention won her the Belmont Award, given to imaginative and clever emerging designers. Laila felt shocked and honoured to win the award for "A Solution for Manspreading," the appropriate title for her project. She said: "With my chair set, I hoped to draw awareness to the act of sitting for men and women and inspire discussion around this."

Credit: Laila Laurel

One of Laila's lecturers, Dr Eddy Elton, said he is incredibly proud of his student's prestigious achievement:

"Over the past month, our students and staff have come together to work tirelessly on its design. Winning the award at such a prestigious event, which is recognised by the professional design community, was an amazing achievement for our students and university. Seeing our students being called to the stage to receive this award is something I will be forever proud of."

Credit: University of Brighton

As for the judges of the competition, they thought her chair 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."

Is the seat comfy? Does it matter if it keeps men - or anyone else who doesn't understand the definition of personal space - in their place?