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Anthropic Bench by James Walsh

Anthropic Bench by James Walsh
timber bench top and l rammed earth bench support above the timber floor

Congrats to James Walsh Studio for winning the 2020 Australian Furniture Design Award with his entry Anthropic Bench.

Rear view of Anthropic Bench by James Walsh on the timber floor
conical rammed earth bench legs
From the architect:

The Anthropic Bench – Made from locally sourced soil and recycled glass, combined in a process that dates back to 5000 BC.

The objective of this project was to explore the rammed earth process and to see how recycled materials could be added without the loss of its structural properties.

Compacted by hand, layer by layer into a two part mould, the resulting conical legs are designed to allow the timber bench top to effortlessly nest in place, with the help of gravity alone.

Made to order, this object and the tones in which are produced throughout the rammed earth legs are dictated by the location in which the soil is sourced from and the minerals that are found within.

Close up view of timber bench top and l rammed earth bench support

Over the course of a month, various combinations of glass particle sizes, soil mixtures and stabilisers were explored to develop a material that could compete with the current standard of rammed earth.

This is typically a 90% mixture of soil and a 10% addition of stabiliser.
Through my research I found that today the stabiliser is typically cement, however traditionally animals blood was used (so interesting!). Throughout my experiments I came across a stable combination of materials which includes a 10% addition of glass particles, 10% stabiliser and 80% of soil.

Timber bench top and l rammed earth bench support

Having produced custom formwork for this design using a CNC cut mould, the Anthropic Bench relies entirely on gravity and the designed taper, which allows the solid bench top to sit in place without the need for fasteners or adhesive.

Images courtesy of James Walsh Studio

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