The creation of a line of furniture made out of reinforced concrete was launched with the project of the new urban planning of the public square in Valenciennes, a town in the north of France. Drawing from previous research on global urban conditions and “in-between situations”, the design concept is centred around the ideas of indeterminacy and instability. It offers opportunities for user appropriation by encouraging invention of activities and modification of the individual’s place in increasingly controlled social spaces.

The agency carried out an anthropological study on contemporary seating behavior and waiting in public places. It also produced an important amount of computerized volumetric hypothesis. The research focused on the investigation of five themes: minimal form, non-orientation, sculptural quality, flexibility and additive qualities. These five elements also relate the narrative identity of the object : what do objects tell us?

The entire line of furniture is based on a simple form, a curved seat, which can be assembled (2,3, 4 or more pieces) to form various shapes and thus adapt to a multiplicity of situations.
Turn in turn it becomes a bench, an urban seat, an elbow rest, etc. The potential of the concrete material is exploited to its maximum capacity, the basic curved element forming a shell-like structure, very fine, elegant and unusual. The furniture is both functional and aesthetic: it participates in the creation of a poetical urban environment.

Indeed, depending on the chosen configuration, the bench can appear as an enigmatic and mysterious form, almost a public sculpture. With this creation, the architects wish to create an effect of surprise for the user, and encourage him to question his surrounding and his way of behaving in the city. The agency firmly believes that furniture can help invent new social relationships in an urban context.

Creation of a range of public furniture stool, chair, bench, conversation withLafarge
Build in Ductal©, several publications
Stool, chair, bench, conversation
Distributed since 2007
Stéphane Chalmeau