Haugar Bench

In the early summer of 2014 three architect students designed and built a park bench, as a voluntary student project and a gift to the city of Tønsberg, the oldest city in Norway. The park bench is located in the park between Haugar Vestfold Art Museum and the former city library. Haugar is a historic location, been the site of the ancient assembly (Thing) of Haugating and Viking era mounds.

Two of the students, Jonas and Simen are both from Tønsberg, and had been talking about how fun it would be to do a small-scale, hands-on type of project in their hometown. Simen and Trond, the third member of the group, had simultaneously talked about designing and making furniture. The natural result being the three of them teaming up for an urban furniture project in Tønsberg.

ABOUT THE DESIGN

The bench top is a massive, heavy wood structure, sustained by thin steel bolts, seemingly placed at random. In reality the steel bolts are part of one balanced steel frame, partially buried and anchored underground.

Having locked down on the site before starting the design process, we were able to make a design specifically for this place, and we are really happy with the result.

Haugar is a height in the middle of the city core, with Viking era mounds. This was also the location for Haugating (ancient assembly) in the 1200s and 1300s. Today, Haugar is site for the county museum of contemporary art, in the old premises of Tønsberg Sailor Academy.

To reflect today’s use of Haugar, as a museum of contemporary art, we wanted to make something exciting and different, but at the same time calm and modest, out of respect for this historic place. We believe we have accomplished this.

Seen from a distance, the intention behind the design is apparent. Against the dark brick wall of the museum or against the bright sky above the city, the massive wooden top is «hovering» over the ground, only supported by thin legs placed seemingly at random.

FACTS

Owner / Beneficiary:      Municipality of Tønsberg

Location:
Tønsberg, Norway

Sponsoring partners:
Timber AS (wood)
Astrup AS (steel)
H Henriksen Mekaniske Verksted (welding work)

Design:

Jonas Velken Kverneland (stud.arch.)

Trond Bjarne Pettersen (stud.arch.)

Simen Andreas Aas
(stud.arch.)

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