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Dorota Gazy's Sedentary Lab: Clothing & Furniture for a Sedentary Lifestyle

The effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the body has peaked the interest of designers and thinkers who are looking for ways to tackle this issue with concepts such as The End of Sitting and the Body At Work. Dutch designer Dorota Gazy’s project 'Sedentary Laboratory' aims to raise awareness about the negative impact of sitting on the body. Her delivery is like no other. Gazy designed a satirical, yet frightening range of clothing and furniture pieces ‘for people whose bodies have been deformed by their sedentary lifestyles’ - a powerful visual commentary on the dangers of an idle lifestyle, foreshadowing the not-so-distant future.

Author: Siphilele Magagula

Image: Courtesy of Iris Rijskamp


Design and technology have engineered life to be more comfortable for humans, however in this pursuit of comfort through automation we tend to do less physical activity, which is slowly damaging our bodies. In her approach, Dorota Gazy is “designing discomfort” - for a world where objects are tailored for our bodies deformed by inaction.

Image courtesy of Iris Rijskamp

The Sedentary Laboratory: Take A Seat

Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Dorota Gazy explains that the Netherlands' population sits for an average of 8.7 hours a day - increasing to 10.4 hours for young people aged between 12 and 20 years old. This worrying statistic prompted her to design furniture and clothing to create a visually impactful statement about the sedentary lifestyle. "The body is immobile, but we are mentally hypermobile because of technology. I wanted to highlight this unconscious behaviour by making it visible" she explains.

To develop the Sensory Laboratory project, she consulted with a physiotherapist to learn about the type of injuries patients were reporting as a result of prolonged periods of sitting. She then used this information to create the exaggerated, morphed and ailing version of a man with a hunched back, craned neck, withered legs and damaged organs.

1 | Cane

As prolonged sitting causes back pain and posture issues, Gazy designed a cane stick on wheels, as ironically "pushing is more convenient".

Image courtesy of Iris Rijskamp

2 | Chair & Table

To accommodate a deformed back (as a result of bad posture from sitting hunched forward), the chair back - made of dense padding, tilts forward at an uncomfortable obtuse angle. The table has handholds to enable a person to launch themselves to their feet as their core muscles are presumed to be weak. In addition, oxygen canisters are attached to the table's legs to assist suppressed lungs to breath.

Image courtesy of Iris Rijskamp

3 | Suit

The suit is the final touch to the manifestation of the future human figure conceptualized by Gazy as part of her Sedentary Laboratory. This suit worn by the figure depicts the evolution of the human form, deformed and weaken by a life of sitting. The most prominent feature of this oddly tailored suit is the jacket, which is tailored to fit a hunched back and the computer driven ‘forward-thrusting posture’. The trousers, however basic looking, are cut to be most comfortable in a seated position.

By questioning the relation between the body, lifestyle and design, Gazy’s work can be described as speculative design. Speculative design uses design objects to address current societal issues and explore possible futures.

In this project, Gazy proves that seeing is believing. By looking outside the box and giving us a glimpse into how inactivity could reshape the human, she encourages us to rethink our habits and lifestyles in relation to everyday life objects. We are currently at the experimental/conceptual phase of the conversation on the best way to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. We need a simple, inclusive solution that combines comfort, functionality while promoting an active lifestyle, and we need it fast! Do you have any suggestions or solutions you’re developing? Let us know!

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