CC Bench

I was asked to design a bench for the museum Copenhagen Contemporary in Refshaleøen, Copenhagen.For me, it is a task of contradictions. 

The bench needed to be welcoming, yet encourage the guest to move on. 

It had to be functional and mobile, yet stable in appearance. 

It had to work in large, bright rooms, but also in small, dark spaces. 

It had to stand strong alone, yet fit into a system of several benches. 

It had to have its own identity without overshadowing the art, and highlight the fantastic pragmatism and symmetry of CC’s halls, contrasted with the least pragmatic thing in the world—art, which is at the center of it all.


I have designed a bench that is defined by its function. The simple shape with sides cut at a 60-degree angle offers numerous setup possibilities in the museum. They can be arranged in numerous simple yet distinctive forms that can serve different purposes in the room, depending on what the staff wants. The benches lock together with simple brackets that grip the plate at the legs and on the long side grip into milled slots. When not in use, they can be transported and stored with its base, creating a totem pole-like structure.


The design has character and identity without drawing attention away from the room and the art. For me, the contrast between the pragmatic and very symmetrical space and the asymmetrical art is incredibly charming. The bench is symmetrical in shape but asymmetrical in detail, with the progression moving from the floor over the edge—slightly off-kilter, but very subtle.


Regarding materials, I chose douglas fir. It harmonizes well with the beams, floors, and other furnishings. To contrast with the sharp edges, I chose to sand the bench so the wood grain is noticeable. When you sit down, you’ll want to touch and feel the bench. Over time, the texture will become more pronounced, and the bench will grow and change along with the museum it resides in. After observing the empty museum spaces, I was captivated by the floor markings and the footprint the art has left on the room, which I wanted to subtly incorporate.


For the black bench in your dark rooms, I want to treat the surface by burning it. This enhances the texture and creates an interesting play with lighting. It’s also a nod to Denmark’s shipbuilding history, as vikings burned the surface of their wooden ships to make them waterproof and resistant to rot and insects. A small not a the B&W halls were constructed  for ship building in the 1960s.