Stories about benches and people

Certainly every citizen of Maribor has noticed some of the unique benches in the city. Some of them make us wonder whether they are intended for sitting or just observing.
Stories about benches and people are an unique project that has been going on in Maribor since 2015. A beautifully designed project connects authors of unique benches (architects, sculptors, designers, painters) who give their works to Maribor and its inhabitants and visitors.

Thirteen unique benches and each of them carry their own story, with which it captures and represents the space on which it stands.

Are you interested in their stories? Or the people who made them or sit on them?

1st bench: Nejc Brezovšek – Live chain (opened 26/05 2015)

 

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The bench, which is also used to exchange the books, is located in front of the reading room of the University Library of Maribor. With more accurate observation from the right perspective, we can see that the author designed it as an open book. If you are not from Maribor or you are a member of the younger generation, the name of the bench and its location do not mean alot to you. The older ones will not only know it, but may have even been »links« of that live chain more than thirty years ago (1988). About 950 people of all ages were in the chain, and showed their connection with the library by moving part of the books from old library on Prešernova Street to a new library. You can read more about it here.

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2nd bench: Lana Topolovec – The bench of play, laughter and integration (opened 22/09 2015)

You can find it in front of the Prežihov Voranc Primary School, a school that the author also attended. The pleasantly playful bench is shaped in levels, and like schools, it represents the growth of knowledge and experience and the integration of different generations. As its design indicates, it’s not just a bench but also a smaller gaming field. And who would better benefit from such a bench than children?

 

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3rd bench: Robert Jurak – dating bench (29/09 2015)

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It would be hard to find the more suitable place for a dating bench, as student dormitories. How many are those who fell in love in their student years. That was the first theme of his bench. As the author said, the bench was made with instant inspiration. And because one of the most important events at the time of the emergence was a refugee crisis, it also left its mark. As described by him: an aircraft carrier that loads its cargo and takes it to better times with the warning that it is necessary to be connected and solid. Just like the back of the bench, which he compared with how the interlaced fingers form a fist. But I think he just wanted to remind us of the importance of commitment and feeling for fellow humans.

4th bench: Metka Kavčič – Female bench (13/11 2015)

 

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“The forgotten gown on the bench is hers trail – it passes through all the periods – an irrepressably creative, connecting, durable and deeply intuitive female.”

Along the Drava, on Lent, you can find a few benches. One of them is the Female bench waiting for you in front of the Judgement tower. When I look at it, it seems to me that it captures the woman as a whole. Not only can it be gentle and fragile like a gown, but it is also solid and strong, like the metal from which the gown is made.

The starting point for design is the narrative of the time and the people to whom the judgments were delivered. The gown is a reminder of the judgments that we also deliver today.

A brief lesson in history: As the name of the benches location says – Judgment Tower – people used to deliver judgments here. Even those in witchcraft processes.

5th bench: Marika Vicari, Jernej Forbici, Vladimir Forbici – Fingerprint (11/12 2015)  

»Čez ta kamen je Drava dolgo nosila poletja«
France Forstnerič

The authors created a bench, standing in front of the Water Tower, as a gift to Maribor rafters.

The shape of the backrest sums up the roof of the tower and reminds us of the vicinity of the Drava with fish and waves. The main motive is a rafter (pillar). On the bench, there are two more symbols: the bird on the power supply (the top of the pillar) and the tree, illustrating the symbiosis of man and nature.

But if we look at the bench from the side, we do not need a lot of imagination to see the Water Tower, in its reduced version.

 

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6th bench: Marjan Drev – The two of us (05/04 2016)

»Oba sva jaz. Oba sva ti. Oba duha uganka.« Edvard Kocbek

The author designed the bench based on an idea that can be found on his website: Couple is more than two. They are made of pink marble. Eachother represent a complementary form and together form a single whole. Geometric shaping, and the emphasis of the difference between the two benches actually connects them. Just like when you see a couple: they are so different, but when you look at them, you simply know that they are together. And they’re connected. The location is also fortunate because the benches are placed next to the statue of A. M. Slomšek, whose author is also Mr. Drev.

 

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7th bench: Tomaž Plavec – Kaluma (16/6 2016)

 

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There is a bench next to the Andragogic institution, which can be explained in many ways, both in terms of materials and the name. The name can be divided into three versions. Since the bench stands next to the school, it is the first and most obvious Kal – uma (mind sprout). Good schools are sprouting our minds. The second version is the sprouting of the artist and the third K-ALUM-A, since a large part of the bench is made of aluminum. Materials and design are also meaningful. We found this explanation on the site lokalec.si:

»The bench consists of three parts:
- legs or foundations that Plavec shaped from compressed aluminum cans
- massive oak boards, wood, which is approximately old like the building in which the Andragogic institution is (90 years)
- heads that have “grown” through the oak; these are (on the one hand) typical of the author’s work, since Plavec is very involved with the design of figures and faces, and on the other, of course, (again) the symbol of the mind, thinking … Artistic bench made of aluminum and wood thus combines old and recycled with new-emerging and modern. This is also symbolized by intergenerational integration, which is particularly proud of the Andragogic institute. ”

 

 

8th bench: Vojko Pogačar – K’resnica svobode (13/10 2016)

»Včasih je dovolj en stavek za počitek od preveč njih.« Bojan Sedmak, 1001 boan

It consists of metal, stone and glass. The idea originated from the old song, which was performed by Robots – Stone, marble, iron. That was the starting point for my idea.
The planned name for the bench was (K)resnica ljubezni. When the site was disclosed, the author decided to change the name.

 

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9th bench: Janko Rožič – Sklop (21/12 2016)

The bench, which is found on the Židovski (Jewish) trg Square, next to the one of the oldest synagogues in Central Europe. The author created it so that it can be used as a bench or as a smaller stage. As the author’s words were written on the Media Nox website: “In the Židovski trg square, it connects almost all the key elements of space: nature and culture, city and history, square and tree,

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10th bench: Uroš Rošker – Stati in obstati (15/06 2017)

 

The bench stands next to the Evangelical church on Krekova Street. It is set up as a kind of milestone on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Protestantism. Here we find a quotes from two great names of Protestantism: Martin Luther and Primož Trubar.
It consists of twelve concrete triangular elements made of white concrete. The triangles are symbolic, because, as the author says, they represent the symbolism of Trinity.
A few years ago, its author reconstructed and transformed the interior of the church.
Like Luther’s quote on the bench says, they symbolically planted the apple next to the bench.
The bench itself, however, has not only the memorial but also a functional value.

 

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11th bench: Miha Kuhar-Ave, triumphator (12/11 2017)

“Man is the creature of motion.”

The eleventh bench is dedicated to one of the most famous Maribor citizens, Mr Leon Štukelj. It was set up in the City Park, not far from his monument, on the site and on the bench model, where Mr Štukelj preferred to sit. In the bench were installed gymnastic rings, the discipline that brought him most of his medals. And as the author told in the interview, it is a cast of the same rings on which the great athlete once used to compete.

The overall design of the bench rounds the athlete’s signature. A simple idea that in fact completely captured the essence of Leon Štukelj.

 

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12th bench: Primož Pugelj: Klop – The Bench (28/12 2017)

 

And another bench on Lent. It is found in front of the main entrance to the puppet theater.

If we scroll through the sculptor’s opus, we quickly find out that for him, the masks are a great inspiration. And this bench is also formed through three masks, welded from forty thousand pieces.
Depending on the location, the masks are just the right theme, as they are an indispensable part of the puppet theater work process. The author wanted to emphasize that they are also part of everyday life of every individual. We all wear masks. And as he told Večer: “the masks show the hypocrisy of today’s media reality and the heartlessness of globalization, Jelka Vrečko wrote in one of the texts, because in many projects the author wants to be (also) socially critical.”

 

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13th bench: 1 (Sašo Žolek), 2 (Goran Piršić), 3 (Davor Fistrič): Bench of generations (23/10 2018)

 

»Generations come and go, those who are here are the bridge between them.«

Like all other benches, with its significance, name and design, the thirteenth fuses with its environment.

It was placed in Park mladih – the Youth Park, in front of the Secondary School for Design Maribor. A properly named bench of generations. The placement and opening of the bench were connected with the school’s 70th anniversary celebration.

 

 

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In this year (2019), the organizational team plans four additional benches.

Given the success of existing benches, we definitely can not wait to se the new ones!

Did the benches attracted you, would you like to sit on them

They are also represent on Jane’s Walks – urban walks. If you join them, they will take you to see the benches by the conceptual project manager and some of the authors. First-hand experience!

Come and visit our beautiful Maribor.
And when you are here, you should know that at Hotel Bau Maribor we will be waiting for you with open arms and make sure that your stay with us is comfortable and relaxing!

 

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