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Elle Decor Italia

Why according to the Bouroullec brothers the perfect bench is a circle around a tree

In Aarhus, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec design 4 public benches conceived to make the urban space welcoming and convivial


Photo ©Studio Bouroullec

Garden benches ceased being simple spots for stopovers a long time ago, since the idea of using design and architecture as tools of urban regeneration became widely accepted. Recently, particularly in Northern Europe, a new trend has been gaining a foothold. It consists of small and broadly scattered high-quality public projects implemented to promote a new idea of the public space: open, comfortable, and stimulating human interaction.

After the installation–project by Felix Burrichter in Stockholm’s Kvarnbacken park, in which 10 international designers were invited to create as many types of outdoor benches (read also → A Stoccolma ci sono le panchine più belle del mondo), in Aarhus, it is the turn of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, who designed for the park of the Kunsthal arts centre Oui, a series of four outdoor seat installations, all different from each other but complementary, that are conceived to infuse new social life into the urban space.


Photo ©Kaare Viemose

Each bench is a large galvanised steel disc that encircles a tree. It is comfortable to sit on but also to lie on and looks suspended in midair. As if they were beacons, the benches by the Bouroullec brothers guide people drawing them toward a luminous and welcoming spot of the city, a place to relax while enjoying the passing of the seasons, but also to establish relationships. The circle, after all, is the least hierarchic of all shapes, and the expression ‘circle of friends’ suits perfectly the setup created by the designer brothers with their installations: one of the Bouroullecs’ benches is reminiscent of the image of a fire to sit around to converse and contemplate the flames, an act that prompts moments of collective interaction and invites to dream with one’s eyes open since the dawn of time.

Photo ©Kaare Viemose

Photo ©Studio Bouroullec


→ Arredo urbano di design per giocare a ping pong con Monoliths


by Carla Amarillis / 3 July 2017


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