A BENCH IS LIKE ORIGAMI… EVERYTHING BEGINS WITH A BLANK SHEET OF PAPER – AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEKSANDRA STEFAŃSKA
As a part of our new series - MY CUP OF TEA - interviews on street furniture to be read over your afternoon cup, we talked to Aleksandra Stefańska - an architect and street furniture designer working for the Komserwis company. Check out what the art of origami and a street bench called Letter have in common and what its creation process looked like.
Komserwis: Let’s start with… origami. Is it easier to design a bench inspired by a Japanese art of folding paper or to actually make origami?
Aleksandra Stefańska: In both cases you definitely need patience, imagination and, of course, a blank sheet of paper. The difference is that you already have the instructions for origami.
K: Can such original benches fit the traditional Polish spaces?
AS: It depends on what you mean by „a traditional Polish space”. In a small town such benches might clash with the peacefulness of the space but they would be a kind of manifesto, certainly drawing the inhabitants’ attention. However, nowadays in Poland, especially in cities, many highly aesthetic objects are being created and mainly to such cities these benches are addressed.
K: In what special space would you like to see the Letter bench?
AS: While designing the Letter bench I was thinking about placing it in a space full of energy and in motion. The first places that come to my mind are the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow by the Polish-German Pysall Ruge Architekten studio and the Fire Museum in Zory designed by Barbara and Oskar Grąbczewski. Both places brim with dynamic surfaces.
K: What was the design process of the Letter bench?
AS: The process began with an idea in my mind. Then a series of sketches and samples was created. The next step was to transfer them into a computer, create a model, several visualizations and pick the one that was the best. After this stage the bench was handed over to the specialists: Piotr Postrożny and Łukasz Barański, who refined its technical details.
K: Did you encounter any difficulties while designing?
AS: In case of this bench, once the form was defined, it was its stability that posed a problem - to maintain dynamism, but without unnecessary and less spectacular props. Together we came up with the idea of an additional element strengthening the entire structure without upsetting its body.
K: What materials is the Letter bench made of?
AS: The bench is made of steel parts and, depending on the variant, wood as well. The steel is both durable and easy to process so it allowed us to form the desired shapes of individual elements.
K: And finally… How do you come up with a name for a bench? A stroke of genius or long discussions?
AS: Both. Sometimes the name is obvious from the start. Sometimes somebody just happens to use a name that fits and stays. But sometimes it also happens that you spend a lot of time on the best, catchy name of the product that will convince the prospective buyers.
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