COMMONS - International Design Workshop at IDW Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences
February 10 - 14, 2020 


The concept of commons resides in language, knowledge, habits. Culture. Cities call for more spaces dedicated to commons. Commons are spaces that stimulate and establishrelations between people (from same or different cultures). We understand the concept of commons also as a gesture of generosity towards the public, and find this concept embodied in one of the most archetypical items of furniture that is inscribed in the language, culture and social spaces of our cities: the public bench.

We imagine a place where people encounter, a free andaccessible place for everybody, in our public, collective space. A place to rest, to wait, to reside, to read, to tell stories, to chat,to play; to be alone as well as to welcome company.

Even though in myriad variations, we can find the public bench every where and in all times. Seats have been around in cities for millennia. Before there were chairs, or even tables, there were benches.

It is the very ubiquity of the public bench, its presence in our consciousness as an archetype and its representation of urban life which leads us to propose the public bench as a common. It can serve as an object for intercultural dialogue, on form,meaning and use. Bridging individuals and cultures, evokingquestions on how people live, what their traditions are and howthey use public space and its furniture.



The bench as a big gesture symbolises the three future connections between Luchtbal and Lambrechtshoeken from a very central and visible p art in Luchtbal. A new 35 meter-long bench that rises up to accentuate these future routes. Reflective metal pipes of different heights and diameters are placed with a distance of 1,14m between axes and are slid into the ground in different depths, as a foundation. The level of the wooden coloured panels connect the cylinders in an ascending way, step by step.

Resulting from the research with 17 students and residents different functions and forms can answer to the different needs and, at the same time, evoke unexpected situations, such as encounters, a playground, ...




By using a simple modular system and a detailed manual of construction everybody could, potentially, be involved in building and extending the bench or reproduce it in another location. The choice of the location is to occupy a certain piece of public space and claim for more dynamic and interactive common spaces outside.

COMMONS workshop students:
Annelien Michielsen, Anthony Collin, Christophe Demarbaix, Dana Renders, Emma Scheers, Gerben Van Wauwe, Ine Vanden Bergh, Jasmien de Hoon, Jolien Hendricx, Julie Tyberghien, Liesbeth Broothaers, Charlotte De Reys, Nabina Follong, Noémie de Oliveira, Robin Peeters, Stien Aerts, Tim Verlinden


Special thanks to Johan De Walsche, Marleen Goethals, Inge Somers, Jo Meers, Kristof Vaes, Nina de Jonghe, Elke Lingier and Nele Simons.




It has been an immense pleasure to be part of such an inspiring group of tutors: Mariana Sendas & Alberto Pottenghi MONOatelier, Lula Marcondes & Diego Inglez e Souza, Phoebe Brady, Traumnovelle, Joao Quintela & Tim Simon atelierjqts, Ruohong Wu & José Quintanar Ruja Press, Luigi Coppola, Venkatkrishnan Ashok & Saurabh Mhatre, Adrien Comte & Adrien Meuwly, Ola Mirecka & Iga Górniak, Julien Ineichen, Penelope Plaza & Oliver Froome, Anđelka Bnin-Bninski




©rotative studio 2020