In the fourth year design studio, students have been creating concrete furniture since 2014 as part of Pretoria’s Cool Capital Biennale. Designers were coupled with sculpture studios and they were each tasked to produce a concrete bench sponsored by PPC cement. A series of ten benches were designed by our students and manufactured in various studios. The pieces were placed around Pretoria at important nodes including the Natural History Museum, Museum Africa, Church Square and the Union buildings. The placement was done guerrilla-style, meaning no prior arrangements were made with the authorities before installation at the identified locations. The project garnered some interest and before long council members were posing and taking pictures on the benches.
The experience of producing a full-scale object used by citizens was a valuable one. A smaller modular unit was established in the form of a 400mm cube that acts as a seat. It should be cheap and light enough for each individual student to create, and when arranged collectively the units should read as a whole installation. The first installation was done in 2017 at TUT’s department of architecture’s courtyard on the main campus. The 2018 exhibition pieces were first placed on WF Nkomo street across the road from the Reserve Bank at the 012Central entrance to coincide with AZA, the national architecture congress, hosted jointly this year by University of Pretoria and TUT.
After the congress, the installation was moved to its permanent place of exhibition at a bus stop and green space on George Storrar drive in Groenkloof, Pretoria. Unfortunately, they were only there for five days before the whole installation was stolen. The sheer weight and size suggest that it was an organized crime done by a group of people having access to a flatbed truck. If anybody has any information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators, there will be a reward.
Thank you designers: Gail Bester, Zehann Burger, Eduan Coetzer, Dominic Farelo, Shawn Faurie, James Frost, Lourina Grobler, Siobhon Hill, Xander Jacobs, Louis Liebenberg, Itumeleng Llale, Raymond Lourens,Tawanda Magaya, Mfundo Mahlangu, Jean Marais, Juanette Markgraaff, Bususwe Mgwenya, Faith Mokoena, Matshepo Molotsi, Abel Mudau, Gericke Nel, Letlotlo Nkwadi, Lungile Ntuli, Masego Rakumakwe, Nicoline Roux, Ryan Sam, Tlhologello Sesana, Jan-Herdrik van Jaarsveld, Drikus van Tonder & Armandt van Zyl
The project was supervised by TUT design lecturers Pieter Greyvensteyn, Navarre Eberson, Laura-Anne Anderson and Dr. Emmanuel Nkambule.
The project happened with the co-operation of the Cool Capital team, Wilkinson Architects, Newtown Landscape Architects, Shaun Wilkinson (the ward counsellor of Muckleneuk & Sunnyside) and City Property.