Whether it be Times Square’s “meeting bowls” or Chelsea’s metal shutter benches, New York City has developed a tradition of engaging in innovative approaches to integrate various types of seating amenities. The latest piece of street furniture in the works is the ALIS bench, designed by Edward Kim, Tommaso Casucci, Charles Jones, and Mike Nesbit, which may soon augment the landscape of Battery Park, an area that commonly serves as a site for experimentation in the design of communal enclaves.
Sturdy and lightweight, the bench is fabricated through a process of plastic injection molding. This eco-friendly product is inspired by the designers’ keen interest in renewable resources. The plastics chosen for fabrication are made from renewable or reproducible sources such as plant-based products and have been increasingly used in the production of plastic materials over the past century, particularly those found in playground equipment. The end result is an environmentally friendly product that also provides optimum comfort to its users.
The designers describe ALIS as a “temporal instrument” deeply embedded in the landscape. Its “fiber logic” substructure distributes external forces through its skin system and lights up the bench’s intricate web of fibers at night. The bench’s curves adapt to the shape and configuration of the human body. The intertwinement of fiber bundles in the bench efficiently responds to areas of higher impact stress and creates a rigid and thick material surface resulting in a more durable structure.