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    imageMagical Urbanism, a website about urbanization, design and social change, is maintained by Mike Ernst. I'm an urban planner and designer based in New York City. I graduated from the Masters of City Planning program at UC Berkeley.

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    Jeppe Hein’s Modified Social Benches


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    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.

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    The benches have a variety of curves, angles, twists and bends that wouldn’t be found in conventional benches.

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    Says the designer:

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Link to the designer’s website, via TAXI

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