Not currently on display at the V&A

Reserved

Bench
1998 (designed), 1998 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

In 1998 the designers Dunne + Raby and Michael Anastassiades designed a collection of unique objects called 'Weeds, Aliens and Other Stories' that included this bench which they named 'Reserved'. The collection illustrated their interest in designs that explored human behaviour: each object referred to the English passion for gardening but there were also darker overtones of psychological anxiety or dysfunction. Does 'Reserved' exist for the benefit of the flowers that are protected and nurtured in it, or must they be cut down so we may sit on it? It is a playful and absurd question, but it shows that furniture design can be imbued with meanings that are independent of function. In this respect the designers of the 'Weeds…' collection are at the forefront of a conceptual design movement, designing objects that exist at the intersection of design and art, that are for contemplation as much as for use. Their works are seldom intended to be put into production, but act as a kind of commentary on design, inviting us to reconsider our preconceptions about the purpose and appearance of objects.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Titles
  • Reserved (assigned by artist)
  • Weeds, Aliens and Other Stories (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
Oak
Brief description
Bench, 'Reserved', designed by Dunne & Raby and Michael Anastassiades, oak, part of Weeds, Aliens and Other Stories collection, 1998
Physical description
An oak bench with 8 circular holes cut out of the seat with a tray at the bottom (in which to grow flowers). This object also includes a speaker, artificial grass and artificial flowers.
Dimensions
  • Height: 855mm
  • Width: 1000mm
  • Depth: 450mm
Production typeUnique
Gallery label
Reserved Seating to be shared with flowers Oak W.75-2002 Get closer to nature with this bench, but it may also force you to make a difficult decision. Do you enjoy the flowers, or cut them down to sit on the bench? Is the garden for your pleasure, or for the plant's benefit?(2003)
Production
Attribution note: Commissioned by the British Council for exhibition in Prague
Reason For Production: Commission
Subjects depicted
Summary
In 1998 the designers Dunne + Raby and Michael Anastassiades designed a collection of unique objects called 'Weeds, Aliens and Other Stories' that included this bench which they named 'Reserved'. The collection illustrated their interest in designs that explored human behaviour: each object referred to the English passion for gardening but there were also darker overtones of psychological anxiety or dysfunction. Does 'Reserved' exist for the benefit of the flowers that are protected and nurtured in it, or must they be cut down so we may sit on it? It is a playful and absurd question, but it shows that furniture design can be imbued with meanings that are independent of function. In this respect the designers of the 'Weeds…' collection are at the forefront of a conceptual design movement, designing objects that exist at the intersection of design and art, that are for contemplation as much as for use. Their works are seldom intended to be put into production, but act as a kind of commentary on design, inviting us to reconsider our preconceptions about the purpose and appearance of objects.
Associated objects
Collection
Accession number
W.75-2002

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Record createdMarch 28, 2003
Record URL
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