Most public benches hardly command a glance, let alone offer meditations on their surroundings, but designer Kickie Chudikova set out to change that. Her public sculpture, Spiral of Life, offers a sinuous contrast to its linear backdrop beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, and was unveiled before an intimate crowd September 15 as a winner of NYCxDESIGN’s inaugural IMPACTxDESIGN competition.
As part of the IMPACTxDESIGN competition, designers were challenged to use Caesarstone’s material in new ways to foster public engagement and community—Spiral of Life does exactly that. Chudikova’s sculpture, which doubles as a conversation starter, seems as if it’s always in motion given its undulating form made from waterjet-cut pieces of Caesarstone’s quartz Outdoor Collection.
“The whole idea was to give people a playground to sit however they like,” Chudikova told Debbie Millman, host of The Mic podcast, during a panel discussion later that evening at BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group‘s DUMBO office. “It’s such a challenge to design something three-dimensional out of two-dimensional slabs.” She shared that a childhood toy of a dinosaur skeleton served as inspiration. Like the toy, her modular bench consists of bonelike pieces connected by a single metal structure.
The installation’s form also nods to the gentle waves of the Hudson River and the sculptures of Isamu Noguchi. This project, says Chudikova, offered “an opportunity to work with quartz in a new and exciting way without the fear of discoloration and staining.” Chudikova’s confidence in the material is evident in her color choice—the bench is an eggshell shade of white.
NYCxDESIGN and Caesarstone brought the installation to life in collaboration with the NYC Department of Transportation’s Art Program, Dumbo Improvement District, and Design Trust for Public Space.