Love in the time of an Epidemic – SEDA Design Challenge 2020


As we all battle an enemy that we cannot see, smell or hear, our cities are beginning to resemble ghost towns, where streets are getting deserted and people are afraid to go out, lest they catch the Corona virus. Social distancing seems to be the only solution during such times. This in effect means that we have to maintain good distance from each other especially in public places.

However none of our public infrastructure is designed to keep people away rather all street furniture like benches, seats, open air auditoriums, restaurant sitting are designed to bring people together. And that’s what as humans we all crave for; to be together with friends, family and sometimes even with strangers! Our existing public infrastructure will unfortunately only increase the spread of the virus. But staying at home is surely not an option for long…..

Now this is where the Design warriors comes in. Your mission if you choose to accept it is “To design public seating that brings people together and yet keeps them at safe distance from each other”

This seating can be for public parks, footpaths, restaurants, auditorium or any public space situation that you may feel will benefit from such an intervention. So the trick would be to encourage socialization of people without getting them close. Ironical right? Well, that’s what designers can really do. Come out with innovative ideas to solve social problems.

Conditions : 

• This is an idea level competition. So do not focus too much on details rather focus on ideas and its development. Talk through drawings and not many words!

• You only have one A3 sheet to communicate your idea.

Prizes : 

• 1st prize- An awesome book

• 2nd prize- A great book

• 3rd prize- A superb book

Jury Members :

Prof. Pratyush Shankar, Dean, SEDA, Navarachana University | Gurjit Singh, Founder, Matharoo Associates

Prof. Jigna Desai, Chair of Conservation Program, CEPT University | Shalini Amin, Chair B- Design, SEDA, Navarachna University

The competition received a very overwhelming response and around 150 entries were submitted from across the globe. Out of which, the following entries were found very interesting and apt in the current situation.


1ST PRIZE – SERIES SEATING by Robert Currie, North Dakota State University
This was a very articulate and poetic interpretation of the design challenge. The jury was very much impressed by the sculptural qualities of the public seating along with the very positive outlook in the imagination of the city.
2ND PRIZE – 6 FEET APART by Koduri N from R V College, Bangalore
This entry was amongst the most intriguing one! The light installation like quality of the proposed circular design has a temporal feel to it. This entry gave hope that this tough time too shall pass, and life will return to normal. This was also a very close contender for the first prize. However, lack of visualization of the actual use of the design did not allow jurors to give it the first prize.
3RD PRIZE – THE NEW NORMAL 2020 by Saloni Agarwal, BM College, Bangalore

This design was amongst the most minimalistic response to the present crisis. By just adding a taped pattern to the plazas and other public places one can nudge people to maintain physical distance while being able to interact. This was appreciated for its clarity of thought and simplicity. However other information on various types of seating diluted the proposal and hence she gets the 3rd prize.

CATEGORY – SEDA, Navrachna University

1ST PRIZE – TREE CONA by Ayushi Rawat
This was a very positive and imaginative entry as it uses the metaphor of the tree, the garden and the swing to create a very powerful public space experience. The simplicity of the idea and its clear imagination was the designs biggest strength. The entry offers lot of hope.
This entry is very different as it takes the problem with a sense of humor. The designer imagines a whole new experience of meeting other people in the city which is loaded with negotiation with funky installation and devices. The humor wins the day for this entry!
This again is a very interesting solution to the problem of social distancing. The designer took an integrated view of keeping physical distance while providing protection from environment. It is a great piece of urban furniture as it combines seating, shade, lighting, bicycle stand and even a sanitization kit!
Admission 2021 Apply Here