Carla Zimmermann

Department: Design Curating and Writing

What are you afraid of?

Carla Zimmerman’s concept store offers visitors an opportunity to discover their personal fears as they select their purchases. A colour-coded system in green and red provides two different perspectives on the ‘Disaster Designs’ on offer– consumer products, applications, urban defence furniture and protected spaces that help to prevent catastrophes and manage their aftermath. Green embodies the store’s voice, using specific advertising strategies that Carla has found in her research. Red enables a critical reading of the objects and their fear-mongering effect.
The store is based on a research into the ways design contributes to a growing ’disaster paranoia’. Carla has analysed how design uses the same mechanisms as politics and media to commodify disaster and create a pervasive sense of emergency. Our world seems to be in crisis mode. The political climate appears tense as increased media coverage gives the impression that one disaster follows another. The resulting atmosphere invites the utilisation of fear.
Design spreads the sense of alarm through the dissemination of what Carla terms ‘Disaster Designs’. ‘What Are You Afraid Of’ highlights how they shape our physical environment and the psychological condition of our society – a state that is increasingly defined by anxiety.

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Angeline Swinkels