Can Street Furniture Encourage Social Interaction?

That's what one designer hopes to accomplish with his swinging see-saw seat.

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Neulhae Cho

One of the most interesting (and fun) details among the newly revealed plans for Phase 3 of the High Line was the “peel-up typology”, the architects’ exploitation of the park’s signature benches – seen the world over in student and professional projects alike since their debut in 2009 – which they have used as the basis for a veritable lexicon of divergent forms, each with its own function and dominated by the iterative motif of a cantilevered member “peeled-up” from the deck plane. The new typology will help shape the experience of walking through the High Line’s final phase, presenting guests with a number of services from peel-up picnic tables and workspaces to water fountains and, best of all, see-saws.

We’ll see how those work out, but for now there’s designer Neulhae Cho‘s “Swingers” chair, a palindromic bench with two chairs on either end connected by a curved bridge that, like a swing or a seesaw, distributes weight from one side to another. The peculiar form of the chair was meant to invite users to, in fact, “play seesaw”: One person may approach the empty bench and sit on one of the two chairs; the second person follows suit and sits on the opposite end, thereby activating the game and sending their partner airborne. According to Cho, the bend of the bench moves individuals closer to each other, thus facilitating interactions between friends and strangers alike in public space.

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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