Once the largest enclosed docks in the world, London’s Royal Docks span around 2.5 miles of waterway along the River Thames, encompassing about 250 acres. Today the home of numerous repurposed spaces and contemporary living developments, the area remains flush with industrial and maritime heritage, with historic architecture characterized by red brick. For design studio Akasaki Vanhuyse, founded by Japanese architect Kenta Akasaki and French designer Astrid Vanhuyse, Royal Albert Wharf provided the perfect platform for “FLOAT,” a curvaceous brick bench perched on the quayside.
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Working with specialty brickmaker Mishelmersh, the designers tapped into the company’s deadstock, plucking 360 pieces that were expertly cut into 13 unit types with specific angles and dimensions so that they could be precisely puzzled together into the final shape. The shape of the seat nods to the recognizable ring shape of the life preservers dotting the river’s edge, and users can sit around the perimeter or sink into the middle as if in an inner tube. “By connecting the bench design to its immediate surroundings, we wanted to create a symbol for the town,” the studio says.
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