Location: Blue Flag Beach, Littlehampton
Client: Arun District Council
Project Year: 2006-2012
Cost:The longest bench in Britain seats over 300 people along the spine of Littlehampton's coastline and measures 324 metres in length. Studio Weave was part of this project from the very beginning to create something unusual along the run-down promenade, overlooking the town's award winning Blue Flag beach. We worked with local school children to inspire and develop the design. Our playful approach to creating an imaginative and stretching sense of place has chimed with people of all ages, leading to a strong sense of shared ownership. Microfunding was crucial to the success of the project with supporters making donations to have a personal message engraved on the bench, helping it stretch even further.
The Longest bench is made from thousands of hardwood bars reclaimed from old seaside groynes (including Littlehapton's) and landfill. The variety of timber is interspersed with splashes of bright colour wherever the beach wriggles, bends or dips. Old shelters have been replaced by bronze-finished monocoque loops, connecting the promenade with the green behind. The longest Bench has been published in magazines and newspapers around the world. At the 2012 Civic Trust Awards, the Longest Bench won the special Award for Community Impact and Engagement.