ABX Design Competition Submission - Finalist
A PLACE TO COLLECT
Bench as Landscape - We offer a very large bench to activate public participation. A bench is a universal gathering place, temporary, conjures intimate and semi-private moments, an inviting edge as well as an agreeable border. A bench flexes depending on occasion, weather or event. This project expands the bench to a landscape scale to spur, reflect and share dialog and ideas gathered at the convention.
Pallet as Civic Material + Ecological Structure: Can reused materials shed their stigma of “waste?” There is a great deal of energy spent on generating and selling new products, but diversion from the landfill requires even more creative fervor by designers and engineers to sustain a consumer process. Ephemeral products such as the typical wooden pallet offer even more challenges because they are placeless things designed for a singular purpose. Yet a wood pallet’s simplicity in design, generic material quality and relative abundance harbor deeper reflections of our consumer driven practices - affordability, high turnover, etc. Perhaps there are opportunities for wood pallets to reinform consumerism as well. Wood products offer designers with possibilities to unpackage their embodied ecological processes - allowing for new meanings beyond presumed exploits. These leanings challenge spatial perceptions and even social hierarchies that many materials unofficially parlay, e.g. granite as “better” than wood.
U.S. Wood Pallet Statistics*: U.S. Forest Service estimate there are 1.9 billion pallets in service in the U.S. In 2011, 416 million new pallets were made, however millions still end up in landfills and of this only a quarter is recycled. Historically, New England has reused pallets in the form of biomass fuel and mulch. *Sources: US Forest Service, Virginia Tech Forest Products Research and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.