We had a few questions for Mr. Duderstadt about the benches, and his answers are below:
1. How did you come up with the idea?
Back in 1976 a friend asked me to design and make wall mounted seating for his veterinary clinic–so he could easily mop the floors. Since then I have studied benches, literally all over the world, and the contour refined to make it as comfortable as possible.
In 1978 I put one on the front of our house on 10th Ave and have lived with a public bench since then. In 2003 I approached the SF Rec and Park Dept with a offer to make and install benches at the skating area at 6th Ave. They demanded that I use 2 x 4′s rather than the 2 x 3′s and the current contour was refined and 4 benches placed in Golden Gate Park. In January Adam asked if a freestanding bench was possible and using a structural design I found looking at old images of the Park I developed the current bench.
2. Do you plan to expand beyond the Inner Sunset?
There are benches in San Rafael and overlooking Muir Woods as well. I’m always interested in good locations.
3. Do you make the benches yourself?
Adam has made three, I taught a 5 year old friend to make one, but to date I have made 20 more.
4. How long does each take to make?
It takes ME about 1.5 hrs, actual labor, to make one bench. Paint and collecting materials, about another hour.
5. If someone wants a bench, how do they go about getting one?
The benches are only available to be placed into the public realm, in front of private homes or businesses. We first ask that they be “fostered” and if there are no problems, they then are “adopted” and custom paint is possible. People can contact me (via the website) and I will check out the location and put them in the loop when a bench is available, depending on how busy I am, I do have other pursuits.
6. Anything else we should know about you, the benches, the feedback you’ve been getting?
These benches are my retirement plan. I’d like to have them as common as Starbucks. Where ever you are sitting on one you can see the next one to walk to. Adam has put up a website with pictures of most of the benches.
The one in front of Le Video in the Inner Sunset made it through fostering and I painted it such that it is now always sunny on 9th…