Jeppe Hein’s Modified Social Benches
Danish artist Jeppe Hein created a series of benches for the town of De Haan in Belgium, with unique designs, which looked related to traditional benches, but encourage people to interact differently.
The benches have a variety of curves, angles, twists and bends that wouldn’t be found in conventional benches.
The bench designs borrow their basic form from normal park or garden benches seen everywhere, but are altered in various degrees to make the act of sitting on them a conscious physical endeavour.
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.
Due to their alteration, the benches end up somewhere between a dysfunctional object and a functional piece of furniture and thus point out the contradiction between artwork and functional object.