The familiar form of the outdoor bench is so ubiquitous that most of us don’t even consciously see the benches unless we’re looking for a place to rest our bones. But Danish artist Jeppe Hein has made sure that park benches get noticed.
Hein’s project “Modified Social Benches” is a public art installation that distorts everyone’s favorite park seating surface in a variety of crazy ways.
Some of the distortions are minor, some add beneficial features to the benches, and some make the benches entirely unusable. But all of the modifications do one thing very well: they draw attention.
According to the artist, the goal of the project is to encourage interaction. Interaction between the public and the benches, and interaction between the people who use the benches.
Imagine walking up to a bench at your local park and finding it contorted into one of these insane shapes. Would you walk on and find another place to sit, or would you stay and try it out?
Although most of the benches look fairly comfortable, there are a few that would be risky to actually use. But as for the artist’s goal of encouraging interaction, the project has undoubtedly been successful.