Hong Kong is a culturally diverse city, where a wide range of ideas and events take place every minute in a small, yet hyperactive environment. While people are free to express their opinions and live the way they desire, the city is at the same time incredibly inclusive, allowing differences to coexist in surprising ways. The key concept of our bench proposal is to capture this duality.
The bench is composed of two simple elements– a horizontal plane and a series of steel chair backings. Although the scattered quality of these chairs seems to tout a sense of individuality, they are carefully arranged to form small clusters, encouraging communication and interaction between users. In some cases, the backings are adjacent to openings cut into the bench and thus have no seat to speak of, instead becoming frames within which trees can be planted. As multiple openings cluster together, they form a kind of courtyard around which people can sit and literally “inhabit” the bench. Given the simplicity and openness of our design strategy, the bench is able to adapt to numerous settings– a small bench for three people at a bus stop, a longer one along the waterfront, or even multiple rows in a park. A wood texture pattern engraved onto the bench creates a distinct visual and tactile effect, also camouflaging more pragmatic functions as the thicker lines form grooves that allow for water drainage. The bench creates a sense of place where freedom and unity meet.