Stephan Caspar/Flickr

A hundred bucks to anyone in England who can grind the length of this bench.

A hundred bucks to anyone in England who can grind the length of this bench.

Or just sit on it, for that matter. The street furniture has more twists and loop-de-loops than a Dan Brown pot-boiler; it looks as if anybody who tried to actually use it would get dumped on the ground. However, there is video proof that a flexible person can find several unusual nooks and crannies on the bench to take a load off. You just might have to visit a chiropractor quickly afterward:

"The Longest Bench" is located in the British seaside town of Littlehampton, about 20 miles west of Brighton, and was designed by odd-minded London firm Studio Weave (also the maker of this alleged salt made from human tears). While this one in Japan is currently bigger, the U.K.'s bench has evolved from its 300-seat capacity in 2010 into an 800-seat ocean monster that stretches for more than 2,000 feet, according to this report by Inthralld. It was built with the idea that Littlehamptonians could endlessly lengthen it through the years perhaps one day, it will surround the town like a Great Wall of Needless Whimsy.

The folks at Studio Weave based the design on charm bracelets, those ubiquitous pieces of modifiable, tween jewelry. They write:

The structure sinuously travels along the promenade, meandering around lampposts, bending behind bins, and ducking down into the ground to allow access between the beach and the Green....

The Longest Bench is made from thousands of hardwood bars reclaimed from sources including old seaside groynes (including Littlehampton's!) and rescued from landfill. This simple component is arrayed to accommodate the complex shapes called for by the form of the wall and the activities which take place along it. The varieties of reclaimed timbers are interspersed with splashes of bright colour wherever the bench wriggles, bends or dips.

There's also a sheltered portion that looks like the signature of somebody suffering from the DTs. For more footage of this loooong bench, try going here and here.

(Patrick Mayon/Flickr)
(Patrick Mayon/Flickr)
(Stephan Caspar/Flickr)



(Last two by Ian Southwell/Flickr)
(Longest Bench on Facebook)

About the Author

John Metcalfe
John Metcalfe

John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.

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