For several years now, the London Festival of Architecture and Cheapside Business Alliance have been organizing a competition to design and install a temporary bench at one of the central locations in the city: Cheapside, the street between St. Paul’s Cathedral and Bank. The benches are a playful addition to the streetscape but above all they should invite the community to sit, enjoy and take note of the surroundings they are in.
Studio mxmxm, founded by the young Bruges architect Jason Slabbynck, came out as one of the six winners at the end of March. His design uses coordinates to challenge our view of the environment and question our position. Usually we relate ourselves, and our worldview, to our immediate environment, but often we forget about our position and privileges within the global world. The place is named here on the basis of its coordinates and not on the basis of its immediate surroundings, for example a street name or the name of a building or monument in the area.
The bench consists of steel plates, which were cut with a laser. Each plane represents an axis of the coordinate system and they fit together like a meccano puzzle to form a cross-shaped bench. Each axis has a different color and in the backrest the coordinates of the location are cut out which is also the name of the bench: 51 ° 30’48.6 ”N 0 ° 05’17.9” W.
© Studio Jason Slabbynck