Studio Fontana

Deconstructing social norms in and through sport (2020)


Social Matter, Social Design challenges the way we look at, think of, and interact with the social world by emphasising the role of materiality. Incorporating a more nuanced and complex reading of how the social is intertwined with the material, to confront the often simplistic notion of ‘social design’.With this approach, Gabriel Fontana deconstructs how sport operates as a power structure in contemporary Western societies and interrogates how its design – composed of objects, clothing and space – orients the body towards specific ideologies, norms and values.


To challenge the dominant discourse of using design within sports only as an aesthetic or ergonomic tool. We must move towards using design to radically rethink its fundamental role from a social perspective and reimagine the values we want to promote both on and off the sports field.


Through a queer framework, the project looks at sport as a practice which exerts forms of soft and hard control; which privileges and excludes certain social relations; and which reproduces conservative values. By understanding sport as a coded system, this essay aims to open the possibility of rewriting its languages, codes and norms.