Paul Tse, Jason Kim and Steven Tsai
Who influences you graphically?
We felt that architecture had recently become too reliant on photorealistic, 3D renderings. In response, rather than simply taking “snapshots” from the virtual environment of modeling software, we used techniques of composition and collage to make the final images. Here one can find the landscapes of David Hockney, the portraits of Chen Danqing, the colors and textures of Gerhard Richter; all of which contributed to this project, quite literally. This approach of composing an image with different elements also helped to emphasize one of the key ideas of the project – to capture the diversity of Hong Kong, a melting pot of East and West.
What importance does texture hold in conveying the atmosphere of your bench?
We wanted to make something ambiguous, seemingly ordinary, but with a hidden element of surprise. Benches are typically static elements in the city, rooted to the ground. At the same time, we found inspiration in the composition of free-standing chairs of New York City’s Bryant Park, which shows the constant flux of people’s movement. Thus, singular chairs were inserted into the bench, breaking its usual rigidity and adding flexibility while maintaining an overall cohesion. Similarly, with the texture, we wanted to present the ordinary wooden bench – wood being the most commonly used material for benches – but with reinterpret the otherwise boring material. In addition to the tactile effect, the texture also camouflaging more pragmatic functions as the thicker lines form grooves that allow for water drainage.
What purpose does the use of no colour for the bench when juxtaposed to it’s vivid surrounding hold?
The vividness and sense of constant stimulation in Hong Kong has become a routine part of life. The over-saturation of colors is now a background unappreciated by the city’s residents. Thus, the bench retains the natural sheen of its steel structure, embellished only with an engraved wood grain texture to serve as a momentary place of respite for these busy city-dwellers. It provides a blank canvas for unexpected interactions and activities to happen.
Project Description: Hong Kong is a culturally diverse city, where a wide range of ideas and events take place every minute in a small, yet hyperactive environment. While people are free to express their opinions and live the way they desire, the city is at the same time incredibly inclusive, allowing differences to coexist in surprising ways.
The key concept of our bench proposal is to capture this duality. The bench is composed of two simple elements– a horizontal plane and a series of steel chair backings. Although the scattered quality of these chairs seems to tout a sense of individuality, they are carefully arranged to form small clusters, encouraging communication and interaction between users. In some cases, the backings are adjacent to openings cut into the bench and thus have no seat to speak of, instead becoming frames within which trees can be planted. As multiple openings cluster together, they form a kind of courtyard around which people can sit and literally “inhabit” the bench. Given the simplicity and openness of our design strategy, the bench is able to adapt to numerous settings– a small bench for three people at a bus stop, a longer one along the waterfront, or even multiple rows in a park. A wood texture pattern engraved onto the bench creates a distinct visual and tactile effect, also camouflaging more pragmatic functions as the thicker lines form grooves that allow for water drainage.