An existing bench from c. 1890s was discovered in Fairmount Park during the first phase of the Centennial Commons project, of the same style as the benches seen ringing Welsh Memorial Fountain in the 1887 photograph above. Studio Bryan Hanes and the Fairmount Park Conservancy obtained permission to refurbish the found bench, with the iron supports being restored and repainted by Materials Conservation and new wood slats fabricated by the Challenge Program. The Conservancy has begun to use this bench at community events to offer both a place to rest and a way to generate excitement for the work taking place in the park.

The new Fairmount Park/Centennial Bench draws inspiration from the original seating of these grand spaces and their aim of providing comfortable accommodation to residents and visitors to the grounds of the Centennial Commons. Low-slung and laid back, the form of the new bench reflects a similar hospitable gesture, welcoming all to a moment to relax. The bench is unmistakably tied to the park, with ‘Fairmount Park Philadelphia’ emblazoned down its side.  

The swings at Parkside Edge also draws inspiration from the original seating profile, while providing a dynamic and gentle take on the porch swing. A limiting mechanism minimizes the swing distance to a casual back-and-forth. The casting profile of the swing is the same as the bench, though without legs and connected by three hot rolled steel tie rods.

The Fairmount Park/Centennial Bench is now offered for production to parks and public spaces across the country, with proceeds of sales supporting the on-going maintenance and programming of these great spaces.


Location: Philadelphia, PA

Fabrication: Kenneth Lynch and Sons