Seoul (Korea) does not stop surprising us! The proof with the Root Bench, built by Yong Ju Lee Architecture in the heart of Hangang Art Park, an impressive circular bench that draws its roots from the ground, and extends its branches into a network of seating, tables and platforms, for the great pleasure for walkers.
Located near water points, landscaped parks and courses, the location of the Root Bench is not lacking in attractiveness and is a break of choice in Sunday walks of local.
Encircled by a road and a river, the flat ground of 700 square meters of the Hangang Art Park is dominated by the numerous and imposing surrounding infrastructures with vertical silhouettes, typical of the buildings all higher than the others of the region. It is with intelligence that the Root Bench stands out from this orthonormal landscape, offering a respite of good taste to city life. The 30 diameter circular sculpture imagined by the Yong Ju Lee studio is located between artistic installation and urban equipment and anticipates an affective reconnection between man and nature, a significant rarity in an environment of this type.
The architects constituted the structure of the bench using an algorithm. The design process includes a reaction-diffusion system which, after imitating the way an organic substance unfolds over time, establishes a three-dimensional geometric structure that materializes in the form of roots. The algorithm takes into account different natural chemical events that contribute to the spread of a plant material in space. The calculations lead to this radial shape that gradually dissipates into the ground and helped define three heights, suitable for different uses such as picnics, reading, rest and other entertainment. Thus, the smaller seats that make 250 mm high are child-friendly when further seats rise to 450 millimeters above the ground around tables culminating at 750 mm.
Supported by a metal frame and concrete feet, the wooden structure rests on the ground of the park, until the grass cover it in places, and giving the opportunity to the walkers to take its branches and to invest its reliefs with maximum freedom.
At night, it is possible to settle safely in the middle of led lighting that permeate the bench in a mystical atmosphere.
The architect uses the technological tools with care to offer to his installation, between art and urban equipment, an ethical sensitivity, conscious of participating to create, thanks to his work, links of a new nature between man and his environment .
The structure questions the limits between an artificial installation and its natural environment, reconciling the use of digital with an artistic, sensitive and organic conception.
Be careful not to root!
To learn more, visit the site of Yong Ju lee Architect
Photographs: Kyungsub Shin