There are objects that become iconic not because they are imposed on the public view by marketing, but because they embody an idea so seductive and easily achievable that they are able on their own to create the natural conditions for their own duplication and diffusion. This is the case with the “Giant Benches” created by Chris Bangle, a U.S. designer well known for his work in the automobile industry and a long-time Italian by adoption. These oversize benches, installed for the first time in the context of the Langhe—the smooth green hills in Piedmont that give birth to such prized products as Barolo wine, Robiola cheese and the rare white truffle of Alba—have in short time become an irresistible attraction for the visitors to the area. Their power? They offer a new perspective thanks to their dimensions, causing the sitter to feel like a small child capable of marveling at the beauty of the landscape with a new eye.
The benches are made for relaxing, but in comparison to a chair or armchair they are large enough to welcome one or more friends and therefore represent a pleasant social gesture that in and of itself carries a charge of positive energy. In addition, according to Chris Bangle himself, “It’s a great lesson in the use of a contextual innovation. We are so obsessed with discovering new things that we often deny ourselves the interesting experience of experimenting with well-known things in a different context.”