According to the homeless charity Crisis, homeless people are increasingly being forced out of public spaces by hostile architecture such as anti-homeless spikes, curved or segregated benches, gated doorways that make sitting or lying down impossible and deliberate noise pollution. In the research they conducted in 2016, over 450 people were surveyed in homelessness services across England and Wales. Six in ten people reported an increase over the last year in defensive architecture. Over the same period, 35% of people reported they were unable to find anywhere to sleep or rest as a result.


A collaboration between IKEA and homeless charity Crisis on the City Unlocked project to raise awareness about increasingly hostile public spaces; and the impact it has on people sleeping rough. The aim is to put a stop to the use of defensive architecture which has infiltrated our cities and will reclaim the free use of public space. But ultimately to make the streets a more comfortable place for all.

To promote the campaign, I put together a poem and film. The poem is called “the streets are on defence.” This explains the reality of public space and how we have been deceived by our surroundings. 


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City Unlocked has designed hostile architecture inspired adjustable benches. The concept of the City Unlocked collection is to reclaim public space and regain control from the hostile measures taken to control public behaviour. The significance of the benches being adjustable is the idea of placing the power in the hands of the public as opposed to the object. The aim is to devalue the function of defensive architecture and expose the truth behind it.

The Benches will be sold in IKEA stores and online. Prices for the benches will start at £30. However, we also accept donations above the set price. The money generated from the sales will contribute to the mobilisation of the project, and a fraction of the proceeds will go to the Homeless charity Crisis.


The City Unlocked benches are designed to be multi-purpose as they can be used as a bed, a table, a storage unit and a chair. They have also been altered from the original design to be comfortable enough to use for extended periods of time.

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The Camden bench inspired bench can be used as a bench, bed, table, storage unit. The centre of the bench has been deepened, potentially creating a more comfortable space to sit and rest arms. On each side of the bench there is space for storage once the lids are lifted. The top of the bench can be folded back to enlarge it into a bigger bed or table.

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The No Sleep Bench inspired bench can be converted by folding the armrest back to fit into the chair. The backrest can be pushed back to make it a bed or table and, underneath the bench, it can be unfolded further to create a footrest or more leg space. 

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The project is called City Unlocked because the goal of the campaign is to make public space accessible to everyone and to not limit the use of it. The logo is meant to resemble a padlock using type. I chose grey as it is an industrial, metallic, concrete colour like the city.


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Posters using words from the poem.

In StorE ExHiBition

In IKEA stores there will be an exhibition-style showroom to present the benches to customers and allow them to try the benches. However, it will also be there to raise awareness about Hostile Architecture and the campaign. Information and videos will be available to promote city unlocked and the reality of hostile architecture to people who enter the stores. 

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The campaign which will be available on the IKEA website with the film and poem, the collection, a shop to purchase the benches and further information about the project.

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The City Unlocked benches will be released to the public to use freely. The benches will be placed in public spaces that have hostile architecture nearby. We hope to deter people from using hostile spaces and find comfort in the City Unlocked benches. This initiative is an attempt to discredit the purpose of defensive architecture, and reclaim control of public space.