One day in 2006, as Leon van de Vendel was driving the streets of his hometown of Groningen, Holland, he noticed that temporary hoardings and building sites were repeatedly sprayed with quick graffiti and tags. Having been inspired by the streets and public space throughout his study of Interior architecture and Design at the Art Academy of Groningen, how could he make these transient spaces a place for people to stop and absorb the world?
Leon decided to incorporate furniture into the walls.
From this simple idea for a new kind of outdoor furniture, Wild Benches was born. Leon went out with chairs and benches cut in half and used a stencil to spray dotted lines behind the walls, now functioning as a seat back. Soon Leon was installing Wild Benches across his city, and people started to recognise them because of their funny and functional character. The social aspect of the Benches was a bonus; people conversed, ate and saw their city from a different vantage point by sitting on these benches.
Wild Benches have now appeared in cities across Europe, from the event Urban Play in Amsterdam, to Berlin, Porto, Crete and other cities in Holland. For two years in a row Wild Benches have decorated 100 of meters of black wall at the Roskilde Music Festival in Denmark, with site next to the biggest stages. It has been a big success!
Nowadays it’s Leon’s passion and part of his lifestyle to give away Wild Benches to people in their streets. Leon is working on an eco-friendly Wild Benches collection for the coming year and is looking forward to trying out some fresh ideas with the wall decorations around the benches, tables and seats. It’s time to take these benches to the next level.
Check out more from Leon and Wild Benches on our website:
and on the Wild Benches website: