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Bringing People Together with Benches

1/31/2013 2:39:57 PM

Tags: Jeppe Hein, parks, commons, public spaces, urban design, livable cities, art, Denmark, Shareable

 Jeppe Hein Benches
Photos courtesy of Jeppe Hein and Shareable.
 

This article originally appeared at Shareable. 

Jeppe Hein, a Danish artist known for creating experiential art, has put an interesting twist on park benches by populating the town of De Haan in Belgium with his eye-catching “modified social benches.” The benches, which range from the super-comfy-looking to the seemingly unsittable, are intended to bring people together in unexpected ways and make them more aware of their surroundings.

While they look enough like traditional park benches to be recognizable as something you sit on, Hein’s benches have features that break the park bench mold: tight angles, slopes, missing pieces, loops, dips, closed circles and more. With their unusual shapes, the benches are conversation starters and people magnets and they add a fun touch to public spaces.

Of the benches Hein says, “With their modification, the spaces they inhabit become active rather than places of rest and solitude; they foster exchange between the users and the passers-by, thus lending the work a social quality.”

Jeppe Hein Benches 2
No choice but to sit ... together.

Jeppe Hein Benches 3
Is it a gazebo or a bench? You choose.
 

 Jeppe Hein Benches 4
A bench and slide, great for families and hipsters.

Jeppe Hein Benches 5
The tête-à-tête taken to a new level.

Jeppe Hein Benches 6
This bench seats many and orders space in the park.

Jeppe Hein Benches 7
The nap bench.



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Claudia Schumann
8/20/2013 1:27:56 AM
This is what I've been saying for a long time! It makes it much easier to meet people when you're sitting on a bench than when you are rollerblading, skateboarding or bicycling by. I would like to see benches wherever people walk and congregate. A lot of place lost their benches because they thought homeless people would use them to sleep on. Well, we still have homeless people and now we have no benches. I don't mind sitting next to a homeless person - they have a lot of things to say and are really nice people. So lets put back the benches!!!

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