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How to design a social bench with kids


Project Buddy Bench 040 is an initiative of 9-year-old student Charlie, who, due to personal circumstances, needed a meeting place in public space. The friendship bench is inspired by the international Buddy Bench concept.


With Charlie's mother Saskia Voermans and Charlie's classmates, I facilitated a series of co-creation workshops in which we devised the bench from an abstract level (the theme of friendship) through idea generation to a concrete level. Then I worked out the design technically and supervised the production and installation.


What surprised me pleasantly was the extent to which children are able to respond to societal challenges and their willingness to do something about it.


The following supporters have made this project a success: S11, Regiegroep Doornakkers, Buurtcultuurfonds Woonbedrijf, CKE, Municipality of Eindhoven, Roxal Nederland BV, BoschAkker Primary School, De Beletteraar, Arno van der Linden (photography) and many others.