Project by 
Raphael Coutin 

June 2013

Eindhoven NL 

The idea of leaving your house without locking your door seems to hail from a bygone age. Nowadays people go to great lengths to protect their belongings, turning their houses into a fortress, with locks and fences, and guarded by security cameras. In this project I have reflected on the problem of domestic burglaries. A very basic solution to the problem of unwanted intruders has been employed by the railways in France: the train tracks are shielded by prickly shrubs, thus minimizing the risks of collision between man and train. Not a thing of the past nor fairytales: thorns as a natural deterrent. Along the same lines I (re)designed Thorns, a modular system, consisting of multiple spiny elements, making each a cell of this intransient defensive quality. The elements, these thorns, connect in such a way as to create different shapes and functional furnishings. From a simple basket to protect your phone, it can expand to create a carpet or a curtain, gradually morphing into a huge shell. Something to wrap your house in, to seal all that belongs to you, to seal off a lifeless environment where, even you, can’t enter anymore. The fear of being robbed will, as it evolves, take form by the (ever growing) accumulation of spines. In the exaggeration, the heart of the matter is revealed: the question of keeping the outside out and the inside in, is a cheerless and self-defeating one.