Recycled materials breathing life into a new design.
Mona is a park bench designed for Fort Point Harbour in Boston. Encompassing visual and historical motifs of the harbour and bay area, this park bench is made completely from abandonded harbour materials. Mona is composed of recycled pallet wood, and stray river reclaim wood from the Savannah harbour. The Mona allows visitors to interact with it in a variety of ways, is able to house bikes, and can be disassembled and be reused when no longer in service.
Designed for Design Museum Boston Street Seats Design Challenge
The idea was to find materials that are common in harbors around the USA; especially materials that can be sourced from a small radius around the port of Boston. The main body is constructed from three layers of glued skid pallets. The back rest is designed to be sourced from reclaimed river woods, for example Georgia Heart Pine that has been lying in the bottom of the Savannah River for hundreds of years. By taking these materials that would otherwise be thrown away and adding value and beauty to them, the wood is upscaled into beautiful, yet resistant furniture.
The bench is designed to be flat-packed for space efficiency during shipping. By utilizing the cargo space of trucks that return with no loads across their east coast trips, the carbon footprint of the bench is reduced, if not eliminated. Even if produced elsewhere, it would still remain carbon neutral. Mona was designed as a series of planks that are joined by steel plates, which allows the bench to be dismantled and repurposed after it is no longer in use. In this sense, the bench is built already considering future up-cycling into another product or for another purpose.
Skid pallets are thrown out daily in coastal cities like Savannah or Boston. Even though pallets are made of “softwoods” they are usually pine, or other woods which are resilient; especially if they have been out in the elements for years. By glueing the first and third plank parallel to the direction of the bench, and the middle layer perpendicular to it, the loads are spread equally, providing resistance against bending, snapping, and deterioration through time. The ends are milled at 1/8” depth up to 1” from the side of each plank, and up to 3.5” into the planks, to fit brackets throughout the entire plank bottoms. Three layers of pallets give a 1.5” thickness, by 20 inches wide. Finished with water-based lacquer, the pallets become a comfortable yet weatherproof and extremely durable seating surface.
Why River Reclaim?
Hidden for hundreds of years in the bottom of the Savannah River, Georgia Heart Pine becomes an incredibly resistant and beautiful wood when compressed and aged by water. The backrest is made from two solid planks of Heart Pine, 2” thick. Bolted to the side rest, and to the side leg on the other side, the backrest sits at 32” from the ground, and 12” from the small of your back, providing an excellent surface to rest your elbows as well. The face that meets your back is cut at a 105º angle to support a more relaxed seating position.
Sustainability is not only about reusing, but also adding efficiency, function, and value to existing material.
Mona is a collaborative concept designed by Constant Conversations.