french designer jean couvreur unveils ‘banc frais’, a refreshing public bench created for the lyon city demain festival. the furniture, made of white concrete, integrates a small water surface fed by a pump system. thanks to its materiality, porosity and inertia retain the freshness of the water.

image © matthieu gauchet



while global warming could lead to a 1-2 degree increase in temperature by 2050, the development of city center buildings amplifies this phenomenon and contributes to the sensation of heat in public spaces . in the past, fountains provided hygiene and freshness to village squares, as well as collecting drinking water; they were also spaces around which people gathered. with ‘banc frais’, jean couvreur wants to encourage spontaneous uses and turn the bench into an urban oasis, a fertile island during the lyon city demain festival

image © matthieu gauchet



beyond the technical demonstration, the project aims to highlight simple and inexpensive initiatives, from small to medium scale projects. it valorizes archaic principles and techniques often forgotten or too little exploited. ‘like a block cut in the mass, banc frais is the pure expression of the material’s capacities: a volume of raw concrete, delicately dug in the center, as if the water had eroded it. From its center springs the source of a water which evaporates gradually,’ explains the designer. 

image © matthieu gauchet

image © matthieu gauchet

image © matthieu gauchet

image © matthieu gauchet



project info:


dimension: 3 m x 1.70 m
weight: 3.5 tons – 300L tank operated by a manual pump
manufacture: GCC Sponsors – GCC / CNR


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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