The B02 bench was designed to solve an awkward social problem: it delineates personal space so that anyone who approaches the bench knows they can sit without being forced into conversation with a stranger unless they desire it. As The Scandinavian Design Center's slightly awkward translation puts it, "What if there was way for the bench to let you keep your distance and integrity on days when you felt like it, while allowing you to interact with people at other times? "
Jens Thoms Ivarsson's design consists of a plank bench asymetrically attached to and divided by a blocky U-shaped concrete base. Besides its beauty, its chief selling point is its ability to anticipate and quell social anxiety: sitters can decide whether to sit alone (by plunking down to one side of the concrete divider) or risk sitting next to someone (by grabbing a seat to the other side).
This bench costs a lot of money ($4,107 VAT included) and looks to be beautifully made. But the idea behind it is supremely simple and the construction easily adapted to whatever base and seating forms you come up with. Or simply recreate the effect by stashing an occasional table between three outdoor chairs, all lined up in a neat row.
Available from The Scandinavian Design Center for $4,107.14.