Ok, so you’re saying this is the 5th or 8th or 10th blog of mine that starts with con and ends in crete? And you may be right, but a. this is my blog and I get to write about anything I want to write about and b. this is about Ben Barrell and he specializes in concrete but doesn’t limit himself to this wonderful chameleon of all materials. He also works with wood, steel and the occasional recyclables to create sculptures and furniture or rather sculptures AS furniture.
The Logan Bench is Cornish for “rocking stone” a natural feature often found along the Cornish Coast.
The crescent bench, another cantilevered wonder, is concrete on steel and in this particular case was part of an exhibit at the Chelsea Flower show.
Ben says, his childhood had been influenced by both, farming and sailing, giving his work the direction it needed to create these flowing forms. Finding the “similarities and differences between seascape and landscape” inspired him to cast in concrete very early on at University in Bristol where he gained acclaim for his first major piece “Calm to Storm”. The piece above is the blue glass bench, recycled glass chips cast in resin. See, I told you he’s not all about concrete.
I like this piece, the Wing Bench, concrete on steel based on Spitfire drawings from Duxford Air Museum. It is a bench, somehow I think I’d like to see it as a table.
And one of my favourite pieces and not from concrete but from recycled plastic strips is the whale bench, a commission for the Havant Arts Centre, seats 16 and so perfectly exemplifies the movement and nautical inspiration that so defines Ben Barrell’s work.