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Park Bench


A bench with a brushed stainless-steel structure and Japanese cypress (hinoki) slats. Designed for the Roppongi Hills redevelopment in Minato-ku, Tokyo.


Roppongi Hills is a large and recently redeveloped area in Tokyo. Beside the various architectural projects which make up the ‘city’ (as it’s described by Mori Building Corporation), a design project was conceived to provide public seating. Shigeru Uchida, the Japanese designer organised the project, inviting various designers and a few architects to come up with one bench each for individual sites along the main shopping street. One of the disadvantages of such large-scale developments is that so much natural development, built up over years, is lost and replaced by an instant environment, and no matter how well it’s done, there’s no way round the fact that it is an artificial replacement of what was there before. I decided that a touch of normality was needed in the middle of all the glamour of this high-class shopping zone. Imagining people sitting down to eat a sandwich, drink a coffee or read a newspaper, I decided to base my design on a park bench, making it a modular repeating one, divided along its length by armrests for extra comfort. The replaceable slats are Hinoki, Japanese Cypress used in making temples and shrines, which acquires a kind of light charcoal grey tone and resists rot better than most woods. The arm rests and leg structure are flat-section, welded stainless steel bar, built to last and age well.
Extract from Everything but the Walls by Jasper Morrison (Lars Müller Publishers, 2006)