A modular, biodegradable, temporary urban furniture system
This modular biodegradable seating is intended for temporary municipal events (political rallies, concerts, parades, etc.) in urban places. It can also be used as a venue for urban dwellers to relax or socialize with each other.
I underwent a sketch process that explored pieces of furniture, various apparatus, and dwellings in public places. The primary goal was to create a means for people to feel more at home, comfortable, at ease, and maybe even sociable while they were in public places that typically made them feel withdrawn, isolated, and anxious.
It quickly became apparent that modularity would be vital to theproject's success. I developed an undulated form that intertwines,overlaps, and layers into an unlimited range of furnitureconfigurations that facilitate a variety of outdoor urban situations.
PRODUCTION A textile bag acts as a mold as it is inflated with biodegradable soy foam.
Plaza Esplanade Sidewalk Corner
CONFIGURATION The modularity of the furniture enables its adaptation to almost any municipal space or situation
BIODEGRADABILITY When the furniture is no longer needed, the bag is removed, water is applied, and it biodegrades.
The furniture can also be used simply as a place to rest, read, or rendezvous at street corners.
In 2012, I transformed this project into an entry for a competition to design moveable furniture for Battery Park in New York City. My entry, which I call the Battery Bench, is below.
Range of Use The Battery Bench is not just for sitting. The modular design allows for a wide range of uses, and places choice literally in the hands of the user. The dynamic layouts that this leads to encourage visitors to return to the park to see the different ways in which the group of Battery Benches have adapted on any given day to suit the needs of the park.
Modularity One Battery Bench on its own facilitates a range of uses, but put two or more together, and the possibilities are limitless. One can be turned on its side so that it undulates upwards to cantilever onto another. To reinforce this arrangement, a simple male-female joint is incorporated into the design of the bench. In an effort to reduce waste during the manufacuturing process, the piece of material that is removed to create the female end of the joint is utilized to create the male end.
Donor Recognition A circular aluminum plate is engraved with the donor’s name. Nested four inches within the frame of the bench, it is discreet, yet still entirely visible to the users. The plate is bottom-heavy, and is connected to an axle, thus ensuring that no matter which way the Battery Bench lies, the recognition still reads right-side-up.
Movement Perforated aluminum sheets reinforced by a minimal steel frame lead to a weight that is suitable for maneuvarability, but the size of the Battery Bench prohibits theft. Users can grab it from the handles at either end, or anywhere along the edges of the bench. The perforations are crucial to the design because they reduce the weight of the bench and are friendly to the grass surface.