Leading southern African cement supplier, PPC recently partnered with Cool Capital and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) by funding 10 concrete benches to be designed and placed in public locations in and around Tshwane. This will serve as a reflection of the diversity in creative heritage that Pretoria has to offer.
The benches were commissioned by ten artists from around Pretoria to be strategically placed in public spaces around the capital city. At the same time, they create a sense of community and belonging to all who make use of these functional art pieces.
Sculptor and programme director from Dionysus Sculpture Works, and the 2003 winner of Technical Excellence at the PPC Cement Young Sculptor Awards, Francois Visser said, “Through the placement of benches, we would like to create spaces where people from different cultures and backgrounds can enter into conversation with each other, becoming spaces of cultural exchange and integration.”
Visser oversaw the manufacturing and placement of the benches in the selected areas. He added that the designs vary from very simplistic and modern, to more intricate – always taking current architectural elements into account. “Other designs celebrate the ‘snor city’ legacy and the great impact that the Cool Capital has had in making the public more aware of their environment,” said Visser.
There were ten artists that contributed to this project, Mathews & Associates Architects, Reply Mahlangu, Sybrand Wiechers, Izanne Wiid, Pieter Matthews, Mavhungu Robert Ramavhale, Tsebe George Magampa, Francois Visser, Alexander von Klitzing and Tabi Tabe Takeng.
One of the artists, Izanne Wiid said, “I designed a PPC bench for the Jan Cilliers Park, also known as the Protea Park, Groenkloof. I wanted the sculpture to ‘grow’ out of the concrete, some areas still partly covered, others already exposed. The bench, although artificial, becomes another Protea bush, therefore blending into its natural surroundings.”
Another artist Mavhungu Robert Ramavhale said recycling was the idea behind his design. “The story of recycling is a big part of our lives and became a big consideration when designing my bench. We all know that things such as tin can be used as containers to hold something, while corrugated iron can be used to build a shelter. I r
ecycled this idea to serve my purpose, in using two tins to make the foot of the bench, and corrugated iron as a place to sit.”
Through the activation of public spaces, the PPC Public Bench Project will afford the people of Pretoria an opportunity to engage with and reflect on their environment.
Architect at PPC, Daniel van der Merwe said, “PPC Ltd is proud to be the sponsor of the Cool Capital Bench initiative. This allowed designers to create several uniquely expressive benches as public art. Casting them in concrete using high performance PPC cement will ensure a lasting and enduring legacy, sprucing up public spaces for the citizens of Tshwane, and its visitors.”
“Public spaces should be places for free and creative expression and that includes art. Public spaces should also be for all parts of public life and expression. Benches in public spaces allow people to sit, eat, speak, listen, watch, read, love, think or just daydream. These benches are thus the ideal way to activate the power of public spaces. This makes it the perfect opportunity to become a public art object,” he concluded.
The benches can be found at the Pretoria Arts Association, the Pretoria Art Museum, Café Riche on Church Plain, the Gautrain Station in Hatfield, Viva Village in Mamelodi East and the Protea Gardens in Groenkloof.
For more information visit: www.ppc.co.za.
Press Release Courtesy of PPC Cement