Bench Years




V&A Commission

London Design Festival collaborated with the British Furniture and lighting producer Established & Sons to create a series of one-off benches,

This series of one-off benches was created to mark ten years of the Festival. Each one was made from a different material and designed by a different designer. This family of benches was exhibited collectively in the Italianate surroundings of the John Madejski Garden at the centre of the V&A.
Within a city, the bench is a recurring component of our urban furniture yet its design is often subject to so many limitations to do with size, durability, vandalism etc. The Bench Years project aimed to free designers of such limitations, instead giving them a particular material to focus on. Working with individual material suppliers, 10 designers aimed to exploit and accentuate the inherent attributes of their chosen material. The resulting family of benches explored the versatility of the materials and challenged our assumptions of the humble bench.
The bench is widely considered to be a rather linear and perhaps uncomfortable piece of furniture. Benches are typically made of wood but may also be made of metal, stone or synthetic materials - few are made of glass or ceramic. Some may have arm and back rests as well as key ergonomic details while others simply provide a horizontal perch. In public areas, indoors or out, benches are often places of solitude - somewhere to rest for a while, to wait, to gather one's thoughts or to recharge one's energy. Equally, they are sociable spots where several people may convene for a chat. They are often donated by persons or associations to commemorate an individual or mark an occasion, frequently signaled with a small plaque. Whatever their purpose, it is fair to say that they are usually hard to find when you're looking for one.


London Design Festival

Over nine days in September, the London Design Festival feature hundreds of events taking place across London, showcasing the city's pivotal role in global design. The London Design Festival 2018 will be held 15-23 September, featuring over 400 Partners, Landmark Projects, and V&A Commissions.

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