I was invited to take part in the British Council’s element of Experimenta Exhibition in Lisbon by Claire Cumberlidge and the British Council. Public seating is central in lots of areas in Lisbon, the focus for men playing cards under the shade of a tree in the afternoon, somewhere to shop for a rest after climbing one of the many steep walks and for a few, a place to sleep, eat and chat. But many of the wooden benches are broken and damaged with little sign of being repaired by the council. As the work I intended to make was site specific and required me to learn traditional inlay techniques.
I was able to work with the foundation Ricardo Do Espirito Santo Silva for a month to learn the inlay technique and use the workshops. By using inlay techniques on the replacement slats I made for the benches I wanted to translate my thoughts of how people interacted locally. On some of the benches I redesigned some traditional D. Maria furniture designs, giving the benches a stately feel, and on others I used patterns I found in a book of 1950’s Portuguese embroidery designs, in a bid to bring the familiar domestic imagery into the public space.