Sixteen distinct versions of artist Jeppe Hein’s Modified Social Benches were exhibited in Brooklyn Bridge Park between May 17, 2015 – Mar 20, 2016. These functional sculptures reinvented the park bench to create unexpected social connections and spontaneous encounters. Photos by James Ewing.



Any good public space has plenty of places to sit, whether formally with benches and chairs, or informally with steps and ledges. The placement of any seating element should consider the flow of people in a space, where they already gather, and where people would like to stop naturally. In addition to traditional benches, there should be other kinds of seating to encourage different groupings of friends, like stepped seating, L or U-shaped seating, picnic tables, seating as part of an art installation, and interactive and playful seating like swings. There should be plenty of movable chairs to encourage young people to create their own seating arrangements. Also, steps, ledges, and railings should be free of any dividers or spikes, allowing people to sit there. Finally, instead of fencing off lawns, we should have more open green spaces for people to chill without fearing getting in trouble for stepping on the grass.