See (and sit on) Jeppe Hein’s witty reinventions of the park bench, each one different from the next. Hein’s series of Modified Social Benches are based on research into ‘personal space’ and inspired by New York benches.
Their design borrows from the familiar park or garden bench, altered to various degrees to make the act of sitting a conscious physical process and challenging the amount of space that people set between themselves and others.
Distance between people is a kind of non-verbal communication that varies depending on culture and context. There’s less distance in personal situations among close family and a greater distance in public space where strangers surround us.
Modified Social Benches NY are intended to break our ingrained behaviour in public space, transforming their surroundings into places of social activity and encouraging interaction between those seated and those passing by.