LOCATION / PORTLAND, OR
PHASE / STREET SEAT DESIGN COMPETITION (DESIGN PROPOSAL)
COLLABORATOR / SUK LEE AWARDS / SELECTED DESIGN FOR INSTALLATION
“Eventually everything connects –people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” by Charles Eames
This competition organizes by Design Museum Portland, along with partner groups which is Portland General Electric Company and the World Trade Center Portland. It asked to design the attractive and activated space to revitalize the urban area in consideration of the social environment. My project selected as one of the top designs having a chance to fabricate and install in World Trade Center and Tom McCall Waterfront Park located in historic downtown Portland. The project title is LOOPLAY, which is the compound word from the Loop and Play. It focused on the motion of sitting on a public bench as a play (game) in a city or a park.
We reinterpreted conventional public bench having only seating function and proposed new typological bench which can invite communities and various activities. We focused on introducing new typological bench containing multiple urban events to enhance the vibrancy of downtown area after researching public activities around the site.
We wanted to show that the bench could be used as a place to rest but also where various activities can take place in a city. Loop form envisions a space for relaxation and playful space. Layering a variety of loop allows all ages of people to sit, lie down, and crawl in and out. It offers a sense of play while maintaining a connection to the surrounding environment. LOOPLAY’s playful transformation enables the public space to enliven the streetscape.
LOOPLAY is made up of seven loops, each of which already designed as a seating surface. There are different seating heights and orientations for adults, kids, and pets, all built into one bench. The seating levels are relative and spatially perceived differently according to one’s position, where people can be seated together or separately.
We considered street furniture as the place where can occur various urban events in everyday life and allowed the public to engage actively with the LOOPLAY as activities by several combinations of seven loops. The design will stand out in any environment by its atypical form and vibrant colors. The sitting experience on this unique bench will give the public a fun and exciting memories. As cities become increasingly dense, designers are focused on developing urban space infusing both civic identity and cultural celebration.
The LOOPLAY offers playful seating for 2-6 people and is made up of 61 plywood components that are joined using layers of two connection systems – halved joints and rod/ nuts joints. Prefabrication is more economical and sustainable than traditional builds. Plywood components are cut to shape with a CNC router, paint vibrant colors, and will be shipped to the site to assemble. The assembly requires three main components; plywood, threaded steel rod, and nuts and washers.
The design for the bench’s structural system is the self-standing structure intersecting with sectioning plywood components (Halved joints), in addition to the 1/2-inch threaded steel rod that holds the plywood in place, and the set of nut and washer maintaining the 3/4 inch spacing between the plywood components. The layers of two joint systems is strong toward both thrust (horizontal) force and contortion load.