Takanao Todo + Sekai Architects have shared with us their winning street furniture design that was completed in October 2020 in the Japanese port city of Yokohama as part of the 4th Yokohama Street Furniture Competition. The intervention aims to provide seating opportunities to the public while also remembering the city's rich maritime heritage.
Following is the project description from the design team.
"Yokohama is a city of destination. The first railway in Japan connecting Shinbashi to Yokohama was opened in 1872. The first International Ferry Terminal connecting Yokohama to the world opened in 1894. All sea visitors to and from Yokohama witnessed the illuminated lighthouse beacons in the distance as a symbol of either the beginning or the end of their journey. As time has passed, Yokohama has developed into one of the largest global seaports and is a bustling city of bright lights and glittering tourist destinations, but the significance of the early lighthouses has been forgotten."
"Takanao Todo + Sekai’s new street furniture aims to rekindle a sense of destination among visitors by remembering Yokohama’s historic maritime markers. The design of the furniture is a fusion of comfortable park seating and symbolic artifact. The hexagonal form and tall proportions of these benches recollect the oldest functioning lighthouse in Yokohama constructed in 1896."
"A pair of these tall ‘lighthouse’ benches are located as a portal astride the park’s North East- South West pedestrian avenue where it intersects with a perpendicular avenue. Those on the right of the avenue are finished in red and culminated with a red beacon light and those on the left are finished in white with a green beacon light, as a reference to the port and starboard markers at the entrance to international seaports - drawing a connection to Yokohama’s maritime heritage. At night, it is hoped that the glowing benches will assist to orientate park visitors and give the same sense of comfort and safety as their namesakes gave to maritime vessels."
"The carcass of the lighthouse benches is formed from CNC cut 15-mm waterproof plywood and the slatted enclosure is formed from 20x20-mm hardwood with a weather-resistant coating. The benches were prefabricated in modules and bolted together on site. The lights for the standalone benches are powered by a manual hand crank generator concealed within the carcass. Construction and finishing were undertaken by almost 100 students from Seisa University, to where the furniture will be relocated after the Triennale."
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