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Real Furniture. Real People.

Tjep.'s new design for the seating area in Amsterdam's Amstel train station encourages people to sit in whichever way they like and maybe even strike up a conversation with the person beside them.

By Jeanne Tan / 16-10-2008

Forget about internet dating, try the public seating installation at Amstel station.

It is so refreshing to see design furniture photographed with people, and not just a token size zero model put there just for her legs, but real people of all ages, sizes, colours and even with their feet up on the seats. 'Product photography usually doesn't include the people who will actually be using the designs, in this case I couldn't ignore how naturally the pieces were adopted by the passing public', says Frank Tjepkema from Tjep. about his new design for the public seating area at Amsterdam's Amstel train station.

The station building dates from the 1930's. The main hall where the seating is located, is dominated by two large murals painted by Peter Alma who was connected to the Cubist Movement, depicting trains, people and cities. 'I thought it would be good to pick up on the people connection and city landscape themes, but in a more abstract manner and on a smaller, more personal scale', he continues. The result 'is a landscape of furniture, in which the furniture pieces are arranged rather like buildings in the sense that they vary in height and shape to form a neighbourhood'. The installation comprises a series of free-standing and connected benches with varying heights of back supports, arm rests and a central time piece.

Privacy and the public realm often cross paths in this playful cubist-inspired installation, where you can find yourself chatting up the person beside you, sitting back and watching the rushing commuters or even falling asleep and blocking out the rest of the world. Wood and leather were used to convey comfort and a warmth in a public space but to also encourage people to be more respectful to the furniture.

Photography: Frank Tjepkema

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