Hong Kong


The Oval Partnership Architecture Ltd is the London studio of an international group of architects, urbanists, designers and researchers.

A member of theOctagonpartnership

©The Oval Partnership Architecture Ltd

BriefUrban intervention installed as part of the Hong Kong exhibition at the Venice Biennale of Architecture
LocationVenice, Italy
This prototype design for a street bench evolved as a response to working in different parts of the world, in different cultures and time zones. It is both universal and site specific. A bespoke gabion is filled with locally sourced rubble into which native plants are sown. The seat acts as a rain catcher, funneling the rain into the gabion. Seat sensors measure the number of people who sit on the bench and this data is uploaded to the web and appears on built-in counters. Sounds of the city and conversations are picked up and relayed to a twin bench in another part of the world. This bench receives the local sounds of its twin in Hong Kong.

The speed and scale of urbanisation in China is unprecedented. The traditional social realms of the street and courtyard are being lost. We need to re-state the importance of the local and the particular and the importance of the individual voice in the face of top-down uniformity. A repeated physical object that can be placed in very different cultural and spatial contexts becomes a datum, a device for ʻreadingʼ a place. At the same time it can act as a conduit, connecting remote locations, reasserting our shared needs and desires.