What do you get when you mix a planter with a bench? Austin + Mergold’s PLANCH, perhaps? PLANCH is a planter bench created from urban construction waste.

From the designers:

EPS foam is widely used in building and site construction. Because it is relatively brittle, and relatively cheap, huge quantities of EPS end up in landfills all over the world. There it will remain intact for centuries – EPS is virtually indestructible under normal conditions. Other typical products of urban demolition – threaded rods, low-grade plywood and PVC construction fence – are also used.

Our motivation for PLANCH is to remediate this situation. A planter-bench, PLANCH first and foremost combines potentially toxic chemical product with a plant. Phyto-remediation is one way to deal with vast quantities of toxins that we produce daily. While this is not a quid pro quo situation, PLANCH explores the notions of toxic & safe, banal & unique, manmade & natural in desperate search for balance and coexistence. Proposed here is a line of exterior (and interior) furniture with various functions that takes advantage of inherent qualities of extruded polystyrene foam – its high insulation value, capacity to resist compression, tactility, and weather-resistance.

PLANCH has recently been exhibited at PhillyWorks and Hong Kong/Shenzen 2009-10 Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (together with The Grand Resource HK).