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CSU Benches

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Seating As Value And Culture

Central State University

Wilberforce, Ohio

Stainless Steel, Concrete, Epoxy


CSU Proposal

The goal of the project is to create objects that provide the functional purpose of seating, enhances the architectural context of the campus while articulating the core values of the institution: Protocol, Civility, Service, Respect, Dignity, Strength, Integrity, Truth, Wisdom

To achieve this goal a series of benches have been created that are modern abstractions of tradition Akan designs from Ghana. The Ashanti principle of Sankofa provides the conceptual basis for this project. Translated the phrase means “Go Back and Fetch It.” It identifies the need to retrieve the values of the past so that you are prepared to operate and face the future. The connection of modern core values to these traditional African principles amplifies the context of this Historically Black College and University. (HBCU)

The rich Ashanti seating tradition from Ghana inspires the bench forms for this project. The stool and seating culture of the Akan people is used to encode their cultural value system. Two distinct bench designs are proposed for this project. The first is a modern abstraction of the Ashanti stool form while the second is a Classic interpretation of the same. Traditionally carved in wood, each of the designs is expressed using contemporary materials, stainless steel, and concrete. Integrity and permanence are the primary reasons for these material choices.

Adinkra symbolism is used to stamp and embellish each of the benches with visual images and phrases that reflect both the African roots and the core values at Central State. A walk along each of the pathways will provide a moment of reflection for the CSU community that will enhance their experience of each time they experience it.