Hanne Ossler


Pretty Ugly

Redefining the aesthetic narrative of a shopping trolly

Studium: Master Masterstudio Design
Jahr: 2022
Mentor*innen: Werner Baumhakl, Alfredo Häberli, Nicole Schneider, Ralf Trachte

Aesthetics is a complicated matter. Beauty and ugliness result as a concept of personality, culture and zeitgeist. They are as ambiguous as they are instinctively univocal.

With her thesis, industrial designer Hanne embarked on a personal journey to find an understanding of her perception of beauty. In her thesis she deals with a theoretical and experimental confrontation of beauty through the redesign of a shopping trolley: a product, which Hanne perceives to be provokingly ugly, one she rather not uses although its functionality is highly beneficial.

Designers are often confronted with ideals of beauty in their practice. While creating a functioning object is a rather straightforward process, the look of it is anything but. Through the strive for beauty, Hanne has come to the conclusion that aesthetics are defined through the context of the object: its societal worth we ascribe to it (colours, materials, other customers, who made it). To turn something ugly into something beautiful, one needs to redesign the narrative of the object. Designers become the narrators of their creations, and every design process requires them to actively reassess one’s concept of beauty.

With the redesigned shopping trolley, Hanne did just that. The result invites observers to challenge their personal concept and understanding of beauty and to trigger a discussion, which has, due to its subjectivity, often fallen short in the design discipline: is it beautiful?

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