Loop Bench

For Sparano + Mooney Architecture, great design at all scales is at the heart of our practice. We are urban architects based in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. As you may know we are engaged in developing architecture, urban designs and products and deliver these thoughtful, innovative and contemporary designs to accommodate our client’s vision and lifestyle. Yes, we design large-scale buildings – museums, performing arts centers, recreation and aquatic centers, mountain-modern residences, and centers of worship – but we also apply our creativity to smaller scale manifestations of our architectural mindset and are eager to continue developing this facet of our practice. This is why we were thrilled when a client contacted us about our design competition winner, the Loop Bench, and commissioned us to produce one as a memorial for installation in a specially-selected spot along the beach strand in the City of Manhattan Beach, California.

The Loop Bench, as tested and approved by SMA Principal Ludwing Juarez.

Originally conceived for the City of Manhattan Beach Cultural Arts Division, our Loop Bench prototype takes the native ocean flora along the Manhattan Beach coastline as its point of departure. Our process for the design of this bench began with a survey of the natural jetsam and flotsam that presents itself on the shoreline of Manhattan Beach every day. This quotidian detritus revealed the presence of simple aquatic forms of “soft-shelled” sea life with many of the organisms having a hollow, tube-like architectural structure. Seaweed, kelp and other plant material were among the forms studied for the design.

The bench is a simple, solid concrete “loop” derived from a section or slice of the basic tube structure of much of the sea flora studied. It is curved with a slight undulation in the long direction and square in the short direction with eased edges. It is constructed using a mold and cast with high strength, fiber-infused concrete known as Organicrete®, which requires no metal reinforcement, with its overall dimension being approximately 2’ x 9’ and a weight of 1,600 lbs. The architects selected a bright white concrete, hand-toweled smooth with a power buffed, glossy finish on all surfaces. The bench structure sits on a deeply recessed, 1” high concrete plinth creating a visual separation from the sidewalk and a deep shadow line around the base of the bench. If desired, text can be etched into either the top or side of the concrete surfaces. The first bench that has been completed was installed for the aforementioned client on the Manhattan Beach Strand this summer.

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Aquatic forms of “soft-shelled” sea life that formed the conceptual basis for the Loop Bench.

We would be delighted to discuss a bespoke commission of the Loop Bench with you! It is designed to be situated outside, so would make an ideal and beautiful addition to any private project, and would be equally suited to a civic location such as a transportation hub, public park, or recreation center. Or, alternatively, there is no reason this sleek design object couldn’t also be placed inside as an objet d’art. We worked with Tyler Blaine of Modern Craftsman to help create this unique piece, and retain the mold for the work, meaning we are able to produce additional benches upon request.

Original rendering of the Loop Bench, courtesy Sparano + Mooney Architecture.

We are also delighted to announce that this newly constructed project has recently garnered a Design Arts 2017 Award! A juried exhibition of the work will be on display at the Rio Gallery between September 8 – October 20, 2017, with a closing reception and celebration on October 20 from 6-9pm to coincide with Salt Lake Gallery Stroll and Salt Lake Design Week. We hope to see you at the reception and look forward to discussing the award-winning Loop Bench with you then, or give us a call in the meantime if you’re interested in commissioning your own Loop Bench!