Swiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his characters

Подпись: 0 The complete line of Los Bancos Suizos, or Swiss Benches, by Alfredo Haberli is a versatile, mix-and- match, add-and-subtract, group of outdoor seating that allows people to gather for conversation and camaraderie, or even work while sitting down or standing up. Credit: Bd Ediciones de Diseno Q) Opposite: A series of sketches show the various characters Haberli imagined using his benches for everything from reading Neruda, to playing soccer or standing on your head. Credit: Alfredo Haberli Подпись:“Lucky for them, in Spain they have more sun than we do,” Haberli says, describing how he got started designing his outdoor benches. “You can imagine the people spend more time out­doors, in the streets, in the piazzas, than we do. I just imagined people who were in a park. I thought of a couple, or a person who is alone, or a poet, or a guy who works at a bank, or a philosopher. So, I invent for myself this type of professional to create the shape of these benches to give them a stronger char­acter than you would have in a typical bench.” Haberli considered how a poet might sit in the park and ponder a poem on a warm afternoon, or how a couple might want to meet for an intimate lunch together, or a banker who sits in his office all day might need a respite from his desk. From this sympathy for how people could better use and enjoy public spaces, he created a uniquely practical, versatile, and beautiful outdoor furniture system.

Haberli points out that his process is not typical of most furniture designers. “My way of working is not a formalistic one,” he says. “I don’t have such a strong handwriting. There is always a little bit of humor, always very light, but in general, my pieces they are not minimalistic. My projects always have a thought behind, just to come up with shape? That is not the way I’m working. It is not the shape which is the most interesting to me, but it’s the thought behind the project.”

For example, Haberli carefully thought through the needs of a busy professional who might wander into a park on his lunch break. “I was thinking of a banker who sits all the day, so I make the height of the bench a high bar so, when he wants to make a break, he can stand and read the newspaper or have a sandwich or a drink.” Then, Haberli discovered something else interesting about this particular design. “When I was showing that, looking at the drawing, I saw it could also be a goal for kids who are playing soccer. And this is the way I love to do product, with some inspiration. It is not a normal bench, but it makes small steps in design history. It is a new typology which did not exist until today.”

Swiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his characters

*34 DESIGN SECRETS: FURNITURE

Swiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his characters

The Swiss Benches are constructed so they can be easily connected to make larger furniture pieces. Link two El Poeta benches together, and they create a picnic table suitable for informal, al fresco gatherings.

Credit: Bd Ediciones de Diseno

Swiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his characters

The biggest manufacturing challenge was to ensure the benches would be comfortable in spite of their material hardness. To get the correct ergonomics, Haberli looked back at the human bodies that were his initial inspirations. “If you look to the shape of the benches, in the lower back, you have a double S, and you will not believe it, but when you sit in that bench, it’s a lot more comfort­able than a lot of sofas,” he reports. “We took a lot of care on that. You have a big support on your lower back. And the angle of the sitting, it goes a little bit down to the back, so your legs and knees are higher than your bottom,” he explains.

Looking at Los Bancos Suizos now, Haberli reflects on the impor­tance of patience and trusting your instincts. “It showed me that we have to believe in our feeling that comes from the stomach and just follow that route,” he says. “And I learned that good ideas don’t have a time.” He points out that the same climate that brings people to the park to use his benches, also lends it­self to a slower pace in product development. “It took us three years to develop this. Spain has beautiful weather so they don’t work as much because they are always outside! I grew up in Ar­gentina, so I should know this,” he laughs. “But this idea is still valid three years later because it’s a new typology of small inven­tions and completely new shapes created by these people I imag­ined I was designing for. Sometimes, you see things that are more quickly done, and after a year, well, it’s not so interesting any­more.”

Haberli, in his characteristically humanistic way, is already well on his way to imagining additional users for the next round of Swiss benches/banks. “We are already working on new ones, including one for the homeless. I just hate it when, you know, they put bars in between the benches so the homeless people cannot lie down.

I am making the opposite. I want to make a living room so the homeless can meet their friends and sit together all the after­noon. That’s the next step,” he says. “Another private bank.”

Swiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his characters

(<£) Middle: Renderings of the “El Poeta version of the Swiss Benches—made so writers can sit with their face or their back to the world, waiting for inspiration or scribbling in their notebooks—show how the metal seat fits into the frame. Credit: Bd Ediciones de Diseno

© Four different pieces of stamped and folded metal are used to create many different shaped pieces, from a single or double seat, to benches for lounging or working at a stand-up height counter. Credit: Bd Ediciones de Diseno

 

Swiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his charactersSwiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his charactersSwiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his charactersSwiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his charactersSwiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his charactersSwiss Benches, or Los Bancos Alfredo Haberli . After getting a Call from the Spanish company Bd Ediciones de Diseno, Alfredo Haberli kicked off his creative process the way a short Storf writer might, by first imagining his characters