Ayn Rand’s Park Bench

With hysteric cries of “socialism” and “communism,” penny wise and pound foolish austerity measures, the lionization of Ayn Rand style reductionist misanthropy, and the increasingly desperate attempts of governments to raise funds, this bench from Fabian Brunsing seems particularly apropos for the times.

Take a load off for a while, but only if you cough up € 0.50. What you thought benches were free? You know who else had free park benches? The Nazis.

This bench was originally designed two years ago for a joint show of FH Potsdam’s Interface Design Program, and the Parsons’s School of Design at the New School. That show encouraged students to come up with new objects for urban space.

What I like about this, is that it so completely embodies the anti-tax, anti-government mindset. (Interesting how often the question “Why should I pay to educated someone else’s child?” comes up, but “Why should I pay for police patrols across town?” or “Why should someone else pay for the government service I like?” never comes up.)

Of course, I’m simply projecting my own commentary onto the work, when it may not actually be the artist’s intent. Another possible inspiration for the bench is the passive aggressive antivagrant benches. Instead of simply having a benches uncomfortable for everyone, the bench is uncomfortable only for the indigent. As much as lament/despise bums (Santa Cruz will do that to you.), I’m always depressed by antivagrant design. It’s pigeon spikes for people, that typically aren’t actually hurting anything.

Searching around for a suitable example of a real antivagrant bench, I came across an orphaned page from, of all places, homepage of St Louis Loft Style. The page really does a great job of listing both antivagrant and vagrant friendly designs. Not just of benches and the like, but even devices that share building waste heat. It’s kind of inspiring.