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3D printed urban furniture doubles as a protective barrier

Designed by Joe Doucet and manufactured by Urbastyle, Rely is row of 3D printed concrete benches, attached to each other to double as a discreet protective barrier against terrorism with vehicles.

The configurable seating system consist of 3D printed concrete units, each weighing over one ton, attached to each other by steel rods. In the event of a vehicle driving into an pedestrianised area, either on purpose or by accident, the linking system would allow the benches to absorb the impact and stop the vehicle by slowly deforming.

“Traditional concrete barriers meant to provide safety from vehicles tend to be brutalist, intrusive and function as an ugly reminder that we are not safe in large congregations,” Doucet says. “Rely adopts a different, humanist approach, offering alternate function as seating when not performing protective duties, and enhancing its surroundings with beauty rather than constant reminders of aggression.”

Each component is made in a wholly digital manufacturing process, which is said to have been never been applied to concrete. The process, called HyCoEx, was developed by Concrenetics. Production was done by Urbastyle in collaboration with Autodesk, ABB and Cementir Group. The project was spearheaded by Victoria Milne and 6¢ Design for the Times Square Design Lab.

The system is currently being tested under the international vehicle crash barrier test standards standard IWA 14-1 to establish its exact resistance capacity under heavy stress.

The first installation is currently present at 45th Street and Broadway in New York’s busiest intersection, Times Square. The bench is installed in partnership with the Times Square Alliance.

Photos: Joe Doucet

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