Wednesday, July 23, 2008

the painful design of the Bench (or how I dislocated my hip)



During various investigations into the current developments spanning the far east side of the Spree on the outskirts of Berlin, I marveled for a number of moments at this recently planted garden site. As part of the Berlin Campus residential complex - a set of apartments incorporating the left-over structures of a prison - the garden boasts a set of concrete pathways, which presumably aim to create a sense of public space in the center of the apartment complex, and a series of concrete blocks, which I sense are intended to offer local residents a place to sit. Though, I can't help but question the entire scene, and how this curious space might actually function, and in particular, how this concrete block may in turn offer the local grandmother, or father and toddler, a cosy place to rest and enjoy the local surrounding.
The history of the public bench then might be read as part of the ongoing relation of designer and user, where innovation may run counter to the slow durational procession of the relaxing body in space, which over the span of the ages has no doubt found its optimum articulation in the simple L-shaped structure we all have come to appreciate, especially during those moments of reverie or down-right exhaustion only cities can produce.

1 comment:

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