Undulating Root Bench is designed with computer algorithms

Yong Ju Lee Architecture
© 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.

Undulating Root Bench is designed with computer algorithms
Emerging out of a park in Seoul, South Korea, this dynamic piece of urban furniture offers a place to sit, walk and play.

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