Sleek new benches based on designs of renowned architect Jerzy Sołtan reappear in heart of seat-y centre
Sleek wooden benches – based on a Polish design from the 1960s – have made a comeback in Warsaw, proof that good design can have a timeless appeal
Located right in city centre, the new benches have a striking simplicity, consisting of a row of smooth wooden slats supported by a frame, with no back or armrests.
Based on those designed by Polish architect Jerzy Sołtan, the benches’ rounded shapes and lack of sharp angles makes them more comfortable to sit on.
The colour of the wood ranges from deep honey-coloured brown to lighter hues, which adds interest to the minimal design.
Measuring 4.5 m long, 60 cm wide and 40 cm high, the benches are replicas of the ones on the Środmieście station’s platforms and waiting rooms in the 1960s.
The interiors were created by a team from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, with the benches themselves designed based on those by Polish architect Jerzy Sołtan.
Born in 1913, Sołtan studied at the Warsaw Politechnic (now the Warsaw University of Technology) in the 1930s. Captured after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, he ended up in a prisoner of war camp.
During that time, he translated a book by celebrated Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier into Polish and corresponded with him, which led to studies in France after the war.
In 1959, Sołtan left Poland again, this time for Harvard University, where he became the Nelson Robinson Jr. Professor of Architecture and Urban Design.
During his time at Harvard, he educated generations of students in the principles of modernist design. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2005, at the age of 92.
Eight of the 12 new benches can be found between the Palace of Culture and Science and Aleje Jerozolimskie, and four by the Warszawa Śródmieście station.