All The King’s Horses…

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jake@designhousestudio.co.uk Composite Theme Submission

rectory-lane-all-the-kings-horses
Bench Numbers:
7
Estimated Hours Taken:
42
Materials:
Cast Terrazzo (Benches 1,2,4,9,10 + 12) + Timber (Bench 11)
Ground Preparation:
Little or no ground preparation is required. The benches will be relatively heavy and therefore in most cases will provide their own stability. Some localised levelling of the ground to allow the benches to rest comfortably and stably on the ground will be required. If security is an issue, concrete pad stones could be set into the ground on a layer of aggregate and sand blinding to form anchor points to fix down the benches - see installation information below.
Fixings / installation:
The benches will be manufactured off site and delivered by lorry to the entrances. A mini telescopic crawler crane plus two people will then be required to move each bench into position. No fixing is anticipated as being required although if necessary from a security point of view, threaded rods could be cast into the bottom of the terrazzo and then inserted into the ground or into shallow concrete pad footings. These would also help stabilise benches in case of ground movement or disturbance.
Maintenance:
Once installed it is anticipated that the benches will not require any maintenance. As they are cast they will have no component pieces or elements that could be removed or broken off and the material - terrazzo - is an immensely hard-wearing material frequently used in outdoor locations. The colour is integral to the material and therefore no fading or discolouration is anticipated and no re-painting or re-finishing will be required. The polished surface will also mean that the material is self-cleaning.
Cost:
It is anticipated that each bench will cost in the region of £1500.
About your theme:
All The Kings Horses plays on various themes which resonate strongly with the site and the brief. The seven benches are conceived as a family of objects, varying in detail and colour as well as the kind of seating they provide.

The benches are based around the idea of abstracted, architectural columns that are lying on their sides. Taken together they suggest a field of semi-broken, fluted columns of various sizes and shapes - some short, some long, some sliced off at seemingly arbitrary angles and some curved or bent. The size and shape gives a variety of seating from short one-person benches to angled benches for conversation to curved benches where a number of people can sit as an intimate group. Whilst each one is different, the benches provide a series of linked objects, an episodic narrative across the cemetery that provides both variety and coherence.

The benches are formed from cast terrazzo, a form of concrete made with various natural stone chippings which is then polished to a high sheen. Not only does this give a beautiful surface full of fine detail and close-up interest, but one that is extremely robust and hard-wearing. One of the beauties of terrazzo is the variety of colour and aggregate size possible and it is anticipated that each bench will be a subtly different and unique colour. The drawings show a series of soft-pastel colours - light greys, buffs, very pale pinks and blues - that would link the benches together while allowing each to have its own identity.

Conceptually, the proposal plays on the association of architectural forms - particularly columns - with the human body and with the passage of time. Whilst the benches might appear scattered and random at first glance - as if the columns have simply fallen down where they formerly stood - their position relates closely to their individual contexts and to specific views in the cemetery.

Taken as whole, the theme is intended to resonate on a number of levels, a suitably dignified proposition that also asks questions and provokes thoughts around the relationship of architecture and landscape to death, grief and memory.

The individual benches are as follows:

1. Rectory Lane Entrance. A pair of short sliced-off vertical columns mark the entrance while a long column on its side bench offers views into the cemetery.

2. Axial path. A pair of semi-circular benches sit either side of the path, framing the axis.

3. 4th Plinth. This site has been left for for others to contribute as an ongoing project.

4. Foundation Stone. This is a second column lying on its side bench terminating the axis and angled in relation to the Foundation Stone.

9 Sextons Hut and 10 Three Close Lane Gates. A collection of benches grouped loosely together offering different views into and across the cemetery.

11. Felled Oak. The oak tree is carved in to a timber version of the terrazzo benches, offering a play on the idea that classical columns were derived from tree trunks and suggesting a dialogue with the natural forms within the cemetery.

11. Family Seat. A circular bench, like a column wrapped into a ball, placed at the highest point of the cemetery.