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 on 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.
Reacting to the prize, 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 award, 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.