The wandering bench

A common feature of pedestrian cells that are only of a temporary nature is a lack of affinity with the human scale. As is often the case, a wide an iconic road serves as a transitory test case or periodical project, alternating between regular traffic and pedestrian use every other weekend for example. Even if such a cell is permanent, it can take a while before adapted human-centred infrastructure finds a way to its new destination. In all these cases, there is a feasible risk of an infrastructural misfit…

As a result, the pedestrian cell might only be attractive when there is an abundance of people, their multitude blurring the gap in scale. The wanderer’s perception changes from ‘individual’ to ‘group’ or ‘mass’, which naturally fits the broad avenue or square better. On less crowded moments, people might feel less at ease in this oversized concrete jungle.

As a design research, we united an elementary form of mobility with the ability to create a more human-scaled environment. Introducing the wandering bench: an autonomous moving object that people can relate and hold on to.

(Frederik Deschuytter, Wouter Haspeslagh, Vincenzo Seminara)