New York – “The best weapon is to sit down and talk,” said once Nelson Mandela. Such historic quote has inspired architecture firm Snøhetta to design a six-and-a-half meter-long installation which is currently showcased the UN Headquarters Plaza in New York City as a symbol of diplomacy and dialogue. Designed as a partial circle that meets the ground at its lowest point, the gentle arc of the bench pulls those sitting on it closer together, subsequently and subtly encouraging dialogue.
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Commissioned by the Nobel Peace Center, the piece is titled The Best Weapon pays tribute to past Nobel Peace Prize laureates and their efforts to bring people together. “The foremost precondition for peace is bringing people together. We believe in using design as a tool to create lasting symbols that foster fruitful communication,” says Snøhetta founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.
The installation is situated at the main entry to the UN Headquarters Plaza, next to the famous Non-Violence sculpture – an oversized Colt revolver cast in bronze, with a knotted barrel and the muzzle pointing upwards. In such position, The Best Weapon takes on multiple valences through this dialogue with its neighbour.
The installation is made from anodized aluminum from Hydro. The aluminum is the world’s greenest with significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than the industry average. In addition to creating a beautiful surface, the anodized finish of the bench has high corrosion resistance and protection against scratching.
The Best Weapon is produced by Norwegian sustainable urban furniture manufacturer Vestre in a completely carbon-neutral process. Bead-blasted and pre-distressed, the sturdy material will ensure the bench’s longevity, promoting diplomacy and dialogue for many years to come.
The installation will remain at the Headquarters’ plaza through October 15th, when it will be transferred to Oslo to its permanent location near the Nobel Peace Center and the Oslo City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually.
All photos: courtesy of Snøhetta.