Anti Affordance



After spending two weeks focusing on desire lines, we now had to explore affordance. We were given the choice of using affordance as an invitation to play, or demonstrating an anti-affordance. My initial response was that creating an invitation play seemed harder than creating an anti-affordance, simply because it would not be as instantly recognisable.

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Initial Ideas + Research:

Jelly Chair

Chairs have a sitting affordance, however to make this an anti affordance the chair would need to be made of a material, like jelly, which would provide no support at all, meaning that you could not sit on it.


Chocolate teapot

“About as useful as a chocolate teapot” – Meaning that it has no use at all.


A bin that does not store anything

A bin has a containing affordance, it is designed to temporarily contain waste. However I often see bins with waste surrounding it, as people have just thrown their rubbish in the direction of the bin. So I liked the idea of a bin that never contained anything, instead the rubbish just passed through to somewhere else, just making it someone else’s problem.

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A ladder that is designed to hook on to Anti Vandalism spikes


The affordance of the spikes is to protect and prevent vandals from reaching the camera, however I thought it would be funny to use the spikes to get to the camera. sketch 6

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Anti vandalism spikes with ‘grips’ on them



Replacing the handles on public transport with handles made of a material that provided no support

This could be done using paper or biscuit or wafers. It could also be done by making existing handles really slippery, maybe using butter or grease.

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Shoes with no soles.

The purpose of shoes is to protect your feet from the ground underneath, so wearing shoes which had no soles, would make the whole thing pointless. Unless your intention was to be fashionable. After doing a bit of research I know now that that is already a thing! Inside this google group a person asks:

“I have been searching online for soleless shoes for a few days now. I 
pretty much want to go barefoot all of the time, but I don’t want to 
worry about getting hassled by zealous clerks and managers, or 
embarrassing my wife. I found one image with a guy wearing what looks 
like a leather foot cover without a sole that slightly wraps around 
the front of the feet. Can anybody point me in the right direction, or 
advise me on how to make some if possible? At a minimum I could figure 
out how to put some straps on the top of my foot so it looks like a 
sandal or flip flop.”!topic/huaraches/rT8GYttntWI

Where he is directed to pages like:

So what appears to be an anti-affordance to someone who always wears shoes, is a positive affordance to someone who wants to live more naturally.

sketch 7

High heels that are so high

they would be impossible to walk in. Or if you could not apply pressure to the heels at all because they would break or crumble.

sketch 5’-hidden-dangers

stupid high heel

(These are REAL shoes!!?!)

Headphones that you plug in, however they do not work,

so the noise is outputted through the speakers, embarrassing and confusing the user.

Replacing headphone speakers with regular speakers,

so that they play so loud that they might as well be speakers. I really like this idea, I think it’s an anti-affordance in itself for some headphone even without me replacing them.

sketch 3

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A pencil sharpener with a blade that is so short that it couldn’t sharpen,

but instead made it consistently blunt. In theory I feel like this should work but i’m not sure, i’m also not sure how to cut the razor.

sketch 2

Designing a ‘gum board’ replica on the floor

The purpose of the gum board is to keep gum off the floor, so by duplicating a similar design on the pavement, would be a funny anti-affordance.

sketch 1


I decided to start experimenting with the anti affordance bin, mainly because I liked the idea of slyly tricking people with it. I also preferred the idea of manipulating something that we use everyday, as it’s these things that we often overlook.

sketch 8 sketch 9My initial plan was to manipulate an existing bin so that when you opened the lid to the bin it triggered a back panel to lift and allow an amount of contained rubbish to fall out before the panel moved back down. This would mean that you put rubbish in, and someone else’s rubbish would fall out, meaning that you were unintentionally littering because it wasn’t actually your litter, but you did trigger the action.

I starting sketching out these ideas



sketch 10

And it started to feel as if I was over complicating it. My plan to use some kind of mechanism to trigger the litter, however my time was running out so I decided to rethink the idea and keep it simple.  I decided to adapt it so that the inside of the bin was a funnel leading to a chute leading to a hole at the back of the bin, and if I had time I would add a flap to the hole.

glasto 127

I tested the chute out using a smaller swing bin with no hole at the back first.

Photo 28-11-2013 08 43 10 Photo 28-11-2013 22 22 14 Photo 28-11-2013 22 35 25 Photo 28-11-2013 22 22 03This experiment worked well I decided to go for it and buy a bin to work with that I could cut. My plan to place the bin in the studio at uni, so it needed to be large and discreet enough that it would not stand out and attract attention and stop people using it as normal.


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I started by planning out where I was going to put the chute and cut the hole

glasto 128

Photo 30-11-2013 09 59 44glasto 128b

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Photo 30-11-2013 10 59 19I then removed the cardboard chute and added a bin bag to the inside of the bag, and coated the cardboard with a bin bag, so that when someone used the bin, the chute would be less visible. I also added a thin flap over the hole made of bin liner, so that light would not be seen streaming in through the hole at the bottom of the chute.

sketch 4

In this video you see my kitchen bin in use, and then my bin replacing it.

My plan was to replace the regular bin in the uni studio with my bin, with the hope that people would not give it a second thought, and over the course of the day people would unexpectedly use it and a pile of rubbish would build up behind it.

glasto 127b

The reality was, that it did.


On the day of the critique, my peers really liked my project. Their feedback was that it fit the brief and was definitely an example of anti affordance. Their only suggestion was to perhaps look into replacing the flap with a L shaped weighted mechanism, and although I know exactly what they mean, I struggled to find anywhere where I could get hold of one.

I was very relived to have received such good feedback, I was initially very worried about my project because the concept was very simple, and I felt as if that might work against me. However it answered the brief, people liked it and the cleaners hated it.

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