Traces of an Imaginary Affair by Björn Franke



Milan 09: Designer Björn Franke will exhibit a kit for creating evidence of an imaginary affair during the furniture fair in Milan next month.


The kit contains nine tools for making marks on the body that look like bite marks, carpet burns, or scratches, as well as perfume, lipstick and hair for application to the body or clothes.


"This project broaches the subject of intentionally-instigated jealousy in relationships, which often serves to bolster self-esteem or to test the strength of partnerships," says Franke, who completed the prototypes in 2006.


The project will be on show as part of the Love Design exhibition featured in our previous story.


Photographs by Jonas Unger.


Here's some more information from Björn Franke:


Traces of an Imaginary Affair designed by Björn Franke is a kit containing a set of nine tools which can be used to create an imaginary affair. These tools leave marks on the body, such as bite marks, carpert burns, bondage marks, love bites, scratches and bruises. In addition, probes of perfume, lipstick and haïr can be applied to either the body or clothes.  It was inspired by stories of people who used to fake évidence of victimisation or illnesses to receive attention from others.


Björn Franke investigates the social, psychological and philosophical implications of material culture and technological progress; in particular human behaviour, relationships and self-conception. By means of both socially and psychologically challenging projects, Franke explores how people can express and control their emotions, obsessions and fears through objects and technology. The projects vary in media and include conceptual products, photography and film.


Franke studied Industrial Design at the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design Products at the Royal College of Art where he is currently studying for a PhD in Design Interactions. He is also a Fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude. His work has been exhibited in London, Berlin, Amsterdam and Taipei and has been published in magazines and books worldwide. He lives and works in London.


Type: prototype
Year: 2006
Gallery: Exquise Design, Paris

See all our stories from Milan in our special Milan 09 category.

Posted on Tuesday March 3rd 2009 at 5:25 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • k. rimane

    haha, perfect to create imaginary drama

  • Fascinating idea but I don’t think I’d want to use any of those instruments on myself!

  • casper


  • lj

    love it

  • edward

    Not quite sure which would freak my girlfriend out more, if she found this, or if I actually was with someone else….
    what a messed up concept

  • Random

    Wow. It’s not enough to hump everything that moves. Now you get to pretend you’ve done it even when you haven’t.

  • Chris

    “This project broaches the subject of intentionally-instigated jealousy in relationships, which often serves to bolster self-esteem or to test the strength of partnerships”

    ummm…… yeahhh…..m’k.
    Is there a kit so that one can intentionally-instigate the notion that sometimes “designers” have wayyyyyy too much time on their hands and far too little conceptual merit?

  • morgan geist

    Hello this is Morgan Geist

    Bjorn’s project Traces of an Imaginary Affair is a project over 2 years old, almost mimicking his tutor of the time’s project Accessories for Lonely Men by Noam Toran.
    Noun (traces=accessories), particle (is a = for), adjective ( imaginary=lonely), and noun (affair=men).

    Noam beautifully brought the dimension of moving and still image one step closer for product representation, discreetly using these tools to loudly whisper peotry.

    Bjorn on the other hand falls short of anything poignant, giving us the viewer (not the user) the answers with no capacity for the questions. These items speak in terse sentences, ending in heavy fullstops, where as Noam gave us ellipsis.

    Morgan Geist (Morning Ghost)

  • Cano

    Also can be utilized by geeks, nerds, & virgins to impress other geeks, nerds, & virgins.

  • modular

    I dig the chick ;)

  • MADianito

    yeah this is so freakin old…. cant believe in a blog like dezeen they’re hyped about something this old…. i think it was even posted on “” LOOOOOOOOONG ago…

  • Does the set come in a pocket-size, ‘Swiss Army Knife’, format..?

  • dominique

    I have to agree with Morgan Geist. Noam’s project is more in a way more compelling.

  • bigcat

    if your kid do something wrong, you can show such stuff to threaten

  • Indi

    Just as well there are no serious design problems in the world, hey?

  • Jake

    Noam Toran – Accessories For Lonely Men. 2001. Oh. Just seen someone else spotted it. Exhibited in Paris years ago.

  • G


  • Brian

    Social commentary is the issue here. If you dont get it, don’t knock it.

    (It is a bit manipulative though!) But THAT’s what it is all about!

  • Terrible waste of criativity.

  • GX


  • bugalu

    This is wack! Very twisted indeed!

  • LOW

    that is just wicked

  • great kit for everyone! d’u remeber those nites?

  • Will

    MG morning ghost, I think you miss the point and clearly want to air what seems and almost personal negative frustration on design that dares to challenge our consumer society that often creates very bland objects. Design that can make us think, objects that mediate between humans and their interactions with each other is probably worthy of sharing despite being two years old. But it is a fair point it would be better if Bjorn created something new for this exhibition as I am sure that everyone else did.

  • Eric

    The part that disturbs me a bit is the bruises, cuts, and scrapes. Even the hickeys. My first assumption would not be an affair, but an assult.

  • Lady C

    morgan geist, well put. I’d like to have said something similar. As far as I can see Noam Toran has been untouchable where this concept is concerned and evidently STILL IS.

  • Beau

    This is so f–K d up. Really, what a crazy stupid thing.

    Only a socio pathic crazy borderline personality disordered person would engage in this. You want the marks? You can find common household objects. You want the pain? There are plenty of how too on S& M sites for do it yourself creativity. Or cutting sites.

    …and to go through all this…rather would enjoy the pain, suffering, bondage, and cutting WITH another person. So I guess i would be cheating.

    As concept art, its cool and truly disturbing.

    As reality, its ridiculous, proposterous, and boring.

    I ADORE bondage, hickeys, vampirism, biting, and marks. And I am a recovered cutter. So this all strikes me a bit more emotional than the rest of you all. Oh…I am an artist by profession too!

  • MAD*arx


  • No. 29

    Err… okay… perfectly useless and ridiculous. Why would you “buy” a kit like this when you could achieve the exact same results without it using DIY methods. What a complete waste of 4 1/2 mins of my time.

  • niv

    nice idea, but I prefer the real thing…