Undulating Root Bench Is Designed With Computer Algorithms

©. Yong Ju Lee Architecture

Emerging out of a park in Seoul, South Korea, this dynamic piece of urban furniture offers a place to sit, walk and play.

Urban furniture can make a big difference in how we experience our cities, whether offering an unexpected place to sit and read, play or a convenient spot to rest that also cleans the air.

In Seoul, South Korea, architect Yong Ju Lee has created Root Bench, a root-like bench structure that radiates out with "branches", providing visitors a place to sit, stand or play. Located in Hangang Park, its ever-changing form offers a visual and spatial contrast to the vast flatness of the rest of the outdoor space.

Kyungsub Shin

© Kyungsub Shin

Kyungsub Shin

© Kyungsub Shin

As a winner of a design competition, the 30-metre-wide (98-foot) project was conceived using a computer algorithm, and built using concrete footings, a metal frame and sturdy wood planks.

Kyungsub Shin

© Kyungsub Shin

Kyungsub Shin

© Kyungsub Shin

At various junctures, it seems to undulate and transform not only its form, but also its function: sometimes it's a path, other times it's a seat or even a table that rises out of the otherwise featureless grass. At night, the structure is lit, giving it a semblance of ephemeral life. As the architect explains about the algorithm used:

To articulate spreading-out branch intensively, [a] reaction-diffusion system is applied to [the] design process. This mathematical model describes the change in space and time of the concentration of one or more chemical substances: local chemical reactions in which the substances are transformed into each other, and diffusion which causes the substances to spread out over a surface in space. Through the algorithm from it, overall radial form is generated with the foreground (installation) merging into its background (grass).
Kyungsub Shin

© Kyungsub Shin

Kyungsub Shin

© Kyungsub Shin

Kyungsub Shin

© Kyungsub Shin

Complexity in nature is not an easy thing to wrap one's head around, and ironically, it's through machine algorithms and other computer-aided design techniques that will likely get us closer toward mimicking those complex patterns in the things that we make. To see more, visit Yong Ju Lee and Instagram.