#5 The Longest Bench, Studio Weave
Littlehampton, West Sussex, UK
Located in the small village of Littlehampton, West Sussex, lies the longest bench in the UK seating 300 people. It opened to the public on July 30, 2010.
Designed by architecture practice, Studio Weave, the aim of the project was to add distinction to the beachfront by creating the longest bench in the UK and potentially the world. With generous sponsorship and funding, the £475,000 project could extended as far as 324m. Although Littlehampton didn't bypass the previous record-holders for the longest bench on a global level, it remains the longest in Britain. Local figures passionate about the project including Jane Wood of the East Beach Cafe are keen to continue funding and extend it even further in the future.
Driving the project forwards were contractors Millimetre, who transformed the sketched idea into a reality with the technical design, fabrication and logistics, while solving 3D manufacturing issues and fitting the installation.
The bench is comprised of thousands of hardwood bars made of salvaged wood from landfill and seaside groynes. Not just a regular park bench, this design incorporates complex shapes to twist around the seaside wall to create a flattering aesthetic, further highlighted by its ice cream-coloured accents. The bench also includes two shelters which implement loops and squiggles of the hardwood to permit beautiful sea views in front and behind the structure.
The twists and alternate pastel colours of Littlehampton's Longest Bench. Image: Studio Weave
Littlehampton seems to be drawing away from the quiet coastal town after both the longest bench and the East Beach Cafe, which ranked seventh in our top 10 best designed cafes in the world, have reinvented the area to attract holidaymakers and travellers.
The bench has been up for several awards and won both the Civic Trust Award and the Civic Trust Special Award for Community Impact and Engagement in 2012.
Main image: David Barbour