Chris Bangle’s giant bench phenomenon: they’re everywhere! See the list below.
The fact that humans are infinitesimal compared to the universe is not exactly a new concept, but American Chris Bangle had a brilliant idea of just how to illustrate it. In Dogliani, Clavesana, Carrù, Piozzo, Farigliano and many other places in the Langa you can see his “Big Benches”. You can climb up onto the enormous, colorful benches and make your new, tiny-self comfortable… all the while enjoying a wonderful view.
But Chris Bangle’s story is fascinating for quite another reason. The outstanding car designer from Ravenna (Ohio, U.S.A) designed the cult model Fiat Coupé, Alfa 145 and the BMW 1 series. He got rich and famous and, at some point, decided to give up his job as chief designer at BMW and move elsewhere. From all the places in the world Bangle could have gone, he chose the wild slopes of Sbaranzo, a small district of Clavesana, a place where everything seems more intense: the sunset, the silence and the wind. The unanimous opinion here is that these are the most beautiful hills in the area. And, it’s true: the Langa is a world of its own.
Click here to go to the official website of the “Big Bench Community”, with a list of all benches. The benches in our area are listed below:
It all started with an idea from famous American designer, Chris Bangle, when he installed the first “Big Bench” some time ago in Gorrea, which has been Bangle’s home for more than five years. Bangle’s concept is a simple one: “They allow us to see the wonderful landscape that this piece of earth offers us with different eyes,” he says. This is how the big benches came to be.
“I wanted to introduce an idea that I had seen on my travels around the world,” continues the designer, “with the aim of stimulating the imagination, the dream. Sitting on a gigantic bench and leaving the tensions of everyday life behind you. For at least a moment, to be able to let your eyes and mind do the travelling…. in a unique moment of peace and tranquility.”
After the creation of the “red one” in Gorrea, big benches started sprouting up in other areas, creating places where people could relax. “This project wasn’t designed on a drawing board,” says Bangle, “and that’s the great thing about the benches. They emerged from the spirit, passion and will of the people, to give a certain area the possibility of being appreciated and seen in a different way.”
Success was immediate.
Have the “Big Benches” also become a resource for the community?
“I really believe they have. And we need to quickly take advantage of this popularity. That is why we have launched the “Big Bench Community Project” in order to come up with ideas and initiatives that can be shared with the local craftsmen and traders. The goldsmith Bracco, from Carrù, has designed a jewelry collection, for example, and he has more ideas in mind. Soon, we would like to propose the idea of offering a sort of picnic basket which would include products made by local restaurants. That way, people who came to enjoy some relaxing time on the benches could also enjoy a good, homemade lunch. So, yes, there are many opportunities which could benefit the local communities. When I submit drawings for my projects, I ask for only one thing: that the “Big benches” be built without public funding.”
And that’s exactly what happened in Carrù…
“Yes. There were so many local artisans involved in the project that the creation of one bench was not enough. And that’s how the big benches’ “little sisters” came to be… mini-benches which represent the other installations in the area and from which a pleasant, colorful garden has been created.”
That’s exactly what it is, a colorful garden that gives you the feeling and image of a dream. The “Big Benches”, each with their own color and identity, give us a sensation of being in “Alice in Wonderland”, where we can rediscover the feeling of astonishment that comes from being able to view something beautiful from a different perspective. And that’s probably the secret behind the success.
Bangle’s big bench phenomenon: they’re everywhere.
Il Bangle paradosso delle panchine giganti: sono ovunque