On Thursday, June 2, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles will unveil an outdoor furniture installation designed by Sonia Liu, a student at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, in collaboration with Santa Monica–based Martin Architecture and Design Workshop Foundation (Madworkshop).
Last year Madworkshop sponsored a studio at the college, titled “Re-Defining Public Furniture & Fixtures Design,” which explored how shifting social mores and evolving technology cause adaptations in furniture and fixtures, as well as how we interact in outdoor spaces. A project by student Sonia Liu stood out to the foundation’s leaders, and they mentored her through the process of refining and fabricating her design, titled Sanke, which will be installed in MOCA’s Grand Avenue plaza.
Sanke is a multilevel communal seating system that includes fixed outdoor tables and seating for 10 to 12, and is designed to encourage interaction and a feeling of togetherness while catering to those who prefer some level of person space. Sanke is fabricated with durable, weather-resistant materials in a palette of natural wood finishes and glossy hues. Madworkshop is currently seeking manufacturing partners to mass-produce the seating system.
“This innovative approach changes the way we interact in a communal space,” says David Martin, FAIA, co-founder of Madworkshop. “In a smartphone culture trending toward human isolation, the Sanke design promotes human connection without forcing the issue.”
“I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels awkward and lonely when dining alone,” explains Liu. “I want to feel accompanied. This is furniture that gathers people together and creates the possibility for people to interact.”
Photos by Art Gray Photography:
Renderings courtesy Madworkshop/Sonia Liu/MOCA: