Benches for Europe is an European project with the aim to represent Europe through the design of one bench per country to be installed and used in Strasbourg’s public space around the European Parliament.

Warehouse applied to the open call in order to represent Portugal with an original design proposal. The key concept for the creation of Portugal’s bench was to represent our country by the involvement of portuguese kids in the creative process.

In order to differ from an authorship standard attitude, very common in design competitions, and also to search for inventive results, we decided to involve the children of a school near Lisbon.

With this method, we intended to design and create outside of our studio. Thus we explored the involvement of young talents full of ideas. The goal was to let them play with modular units, combining little pieces of cork to reach tridimensional models. The creative work done by the children was the starting point to define the shape of our proposal.

This activity was developed with the students of the 6th grade of Amor de Deus’ school, in Cascais supported by SOFALCA, a Portuguese cork company that supplied the activity with cork samples for modeling.

The aim of the activity was to create a range of prototypes of the bench to show us possible shapes and scales for a final piece to adjust afterwards.

The children used small agglomerate cork blocks as a base element to explore the limits of a “bench”. We divided the class in 9 groups and gave them a simple abstract of the activity accompanied with some rules to follow.

The first step for the children was to think about their ideal “bench”. After they understood the rules, each group decided to emphasize different aspects of their idea of a public bench. Some of them tried to “think out-of-the-box” escaping from our rules! They tested their concepts, and the strength of the benches, using cork pieces and white glue to fix them. At the end of the activity each group had a minute to show and explain their proposal to the class. After this event, we chose some of the most interesting pieces, between the nine prototypes. Then we decided to go with a specific model because of its interesting shape as a three-tier bench, like a football stand in order to propose a collective use around the Parliament.

Team: Colectivo Warehouse, CAD Students – 6th Grade 2018
Partners: CAD – Colégio Amor de Deus, Sofalca
Client: SPE – Strasbourg pour L’Europe
With:Sebastião de Botton, Rúben Teodoro, Ricardo Morais, Matilde Mozzi, Emanuel Falappa, Monica di Eugenio