BENNO – Alexander Naumann
The chair for un-rest
As instruments of civil resistance everyday items are often repurposed and used as “disobedient” objects. The beating of cooking pots in order to raise awareness acoustically is a famous example which can be witnessed in several countries. Why should designers not try to design objects of everyday life as tools for political empowerment from the start? BENNO is not only a lounge chair but also a transformative piece of furniture which attempts to materialize resistance with a nonviolent, collaborative and effective approach. The removable seat and backrest cushions can be used as protective shields and seat pads for sit-ins, e.g. during street protests.
The foam layers have different degrees of hardness which provide the cushions with both a great seating comfort and protective qualities in case of physical violence. The core of each BENNO cushion is an EVA foam layer which absorbs punches and shocks particularly well. Furthermore the upholstery of several BENNO chairs can be interconnected. This helps protesters to unite forces by enabling them to build human barricades or other formations. Ultimately – in a state of exception – the chair’s naked and unusable steel frame remains as a relic of a lost “normality”.