Usually, the benches in parks aren't too exciting; it's typically just an average bench that serves the purpose of seating two or maybe three people. But in Seoul, South Korea there is a bench in a public park that is a bit more elaborate. This bench can seat numerous people along its extensions that look like the roots of a tree sprawling out over the lawn. It's essentially a bunch of beautiful wooden benches put together to create a wonderful seating arrangement that not only provides a lot of comfortable seating but can also help to bring people together. The bench was designed by Yong Ju Lee and was based on his winning design from the Hangang Art Competition. It's a functional yet artistic piece that everyone can enjoy looking at and using. It's known as the Root Bench, and it spans 100 feet in diameter with many different offshoots of roots at different elevations to create an organic feel. The spectacular piece of furniture consists of a steel frame that is then covered in wood decking for a comfortable seat. There are different heights for different uses including a seat for children and adults as well as a table. The bench heights and lengths were from a computer algorithm to blend in with the surrounding grass.
It was also made in this organic design to help it to blend into the natural landscape, which it does beautifully. The design is also equipped to light up at night under the elevated parts of the bench making it useful both during the day and at night. It looks really cool and futuristic when it's all lit up. It would be the perfect place to bring a book to lounge alone or to sit with a friend and a cup of coffee or even a picnic with a group of people. It would also be a nice place to work or do some drawing or something creative. Even kids can sit and enjoy the benches and play on the grass surrounding it. It's the perfect little piece of serenity in a busy city, something that every hectic place needs for balance. The aerial views show just how awesome the entire bench looks from above and you can clearly see the entire root system this way too. You can also see the people using the bench and how it functions when in use which is also pretty cool. You can almost imagine yourself there in a way and envision how you would use the bench space. Even though it's right by a busy road, there are enough trees to act as a buffer for the noise and emissions from the vehicles.
Yong Ju Lee’s practice is all about the “geometric experiment as a primary creative and aesthetic gesture of building” as he says. He shows us that providing public seating doesn't have to dominate or take over an area, but it can enhance and complement the space bringing something new and exciting to the space. More and more we're seeing projects like this one popping up in cities all over the world, but this is probably one of the coolest benches we've ever seen. Perhaps a smaller version of this could be created for a backyard or a school environment to provide some connected seating for a large number of people. With all of the great innovative designs coming out all of the time it's possible to see a brighter future where our furniture and our buildings fit in with nature and create continuity instead of imposing and overbearing our Earth. What do you think of this bench? Would you visit it if you have the chance to go to Seoul?
More about this story can be found at: Young Ju Lee