Sitting Pretty London Bridge / London Festival of Architecture / 2020 / Steam bent reclaimed wooden sleepers / 1:1
Atelier La Juntana was appointed to design and manufacture a set of benches made of reclaimed wooden sleepers for the London Festival of Architecture and Network Rail. Unveiled at London Bridge Station, the urban furniture is a result of a LFA initiative called Sitting Pretty, and it forms part of a larger collection of public benches exhibited in the main train stations of London.
Railway infrastructure is at the heart of urban regeneration across London. Understood as thresholds between transit routes and urbanscape, these often depraved physical borders created by railway infrastructure are now being transformed into places of social interaction, linking neighbourhoods and promoting urban life, to the extent of becoming the heart beat of the communities.
Looking to highlight this newly acquired role of railways and stations as urban fabric regenerators - creating destinations and not only transition points - the proposal takes inspiration from the complex yet powerful spatial encounters between railway and urban fabric which define the shape of stations and surrounding neighbourhoods and hence shape the city.
The bench is fabricated using reclaimed wooden track sleepers combined with steam bending and digital forming techniques, allowing the wood to adapt into intriguing and unique geometries while keeping the beauty and identity of the material. The combination of wooden craftsmanship with digital fabrication methods is intended to inspire and challenge passengers to discover the potential of reclaimed infrastructure materials as design and construction solutions, creating a learning experience of the rich railway legacy of the United Kingdom while raising awareness of the importance of repurposing and re-inventing in the future of the railway stations.
The design results in a series of playful and inviting geometries which re-interpret the railway infrastructure footprint and can be combined creating multiple arrangements, allowing modularity and adaptability. In a wider scheme, configurations inspired by different railways meet each other, creating a dialogue across stations.
More information regarding the installation can be found at link below: