Nobel Peace Center Installs Bench With An Ironic Name: ‘The Best Weapon’
By Yimin Huang, 17 Jul 2019
Nobel Peace Center features a new bench designed by architecture firm Snøhetta that resembles the outskirts of an oval. The purpose of the one-of-a-kind design is to get strangers to sit at a closer proximity and get to know one another.
The design is ironically named The Best Weapon, it is also termed a “peace bench” unofficially, an apt one given its location in front of the Peace Center. Its actual name is an allusion to Nelson Mandela’s famous quote, “The best weapon is to sit down and talk.”
The bench is six-and-a-half meter long, with anodized aluminium. Mandela’s iconic quote is also inscribed into the bench. The bench is part of a circle that touches the ground at its lowest point, so the natural curve can encourage people to sit closer.
The design is a result of Snøhetta’s partnership with Norwegian outdoor furniture producer Vestre and aluminium specialist Hydro.
It will be unveiled at the Unitd Nations Headquarters in New York City on 18 July to mark Nelson Mandela Day.
Executive director of the Nobel Peace Center, Liv Tørres, stated that she would like the bench to “encourage people to sit down and talk” to both friends and strangers, even to adversaries. She added, “Genuine conversations are requirements for peace.”
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In collaboration with Hydro and Vestre, we have created an art installation for the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway. The “peace bench”, entitled The Best Weapon, will be first unveiled at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Nelson Mandela Day, July 18th. As a symbol of diplomacy and dialogue, the installation pays tribute to the Nobel Peace Prize laureates and their efforts to bring people together to find effective solutions for peace. Designed as a partial circle that meets the ground at its lowest point, the gentle arc of the bench pulls those sitting on it closer together. The installation’s singular design gesture embodies an invitation to conversation. Engraved on its surface is Nelson Mandela’s famous quote, “The best weapon is to sit down and talk”, from which the piece derives its name. The installation will remain at the UN Headquarters’ plaza through September, when the plan is to transfer it to Oslo and a permanent location near the Nobel Peace Center and the Oslo City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually. 📷Lars Tornøe #thebestweapon #sitdownandtalk #peacebench #nobelpeacecenter @norskhydroasa @vestre_furniture @unitednations @thenobelpeacecenter
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[via Dezeen, cover image via Snøhetta]
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