They’re places of relaxation and contemplation, of love and friendship. They’re both a meeting point and a place to say goodbye. You might even have your first kiss on one. What are they? The humble garden bench! An invitation in physical form, their offer of a quiet moment comes sculpted in soft wood, cool stone or hard metal. Their shape and form has been reinvented in countless designs, yet they are always uniquely recognisable, from the most iconic model through to the most familiar.
This much-neglected piece of furniture is an asset to our lives and to society at large. When, in the past few months, we found ourselves deprived of their use, we began to realise how much we needed them. Studies show that sitting in a natural setting for just half an hour can greatly reduce stress, improve mood and increase productivity.
Who would have thought that such a simple piece of city furniture could be so important?
All photos courtesy of Lisbon Municipal Archive.