Situated on Cornell University’s campus in Ithaca, New York beside OMA’s Milstein Hall is Lightwave, a sculptural bench designed by After Architecture. The landscape-inspired design acts as an exterior installation that also provides public seating in the heart of the campus.

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Reframing the idea of public seating, this colorful and wavy bench brings about a highly accessible, long-term public art installation to the forefront.

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The campus of Cornell sits between gorges and a glacial lake and the constant motion of the water breaking through the rock is what inspired the wave-like surface. The bench is made up of a grid of square timbers that undulate creating a variety of seating alcoves. The interior sides of the wood are painted in bright colors that glow at night with the help of embedded lights.

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The form is made up of 264 black locust posts that were CNC milled, sanded, painted, and assembled into the grid.

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The project was funded in part by the Cornell Council for the Arts.

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