Roly Poly revives and reinterprets elements of the Royal Docks’ history to create a playful and interactive rocking bench for the London Festival of Architecture.

Blocks of cork were laminated and robotically machined to form the main body of the bench whilst a concrete base was used to balance the centre of mass so that after rigorous tilting the bench is able to correct itself into an upright position, eliminating the need for ground anchoring.

The design draws inspiration from the buoys which signaled and guided boats through the river and docks. Standing freely and lightly rocking, these became landmarks of a remarkably rich era in which London development was powered by infrastructure along the River Thames and today can be seen as freestanding monuments.

Futhering this connection to the past is a handle dressed in rope made from human hair, handcrafted by Dutch designer and material researcher Sanne Visser, which re-interprets and celebrates the craft of marine rope making and the once prominent boat yards of Royal Docks, while giving the bench a contrasting layer of tactility and softness.
Roly Poly Rocking Bench, London, 2019           
Mandarin Street, Royal Docks, London E16 2YP
Client: London Festival of Architecture

Collaborators: Millimetre, Sanne Visser