This Public Bench Turns Into A Merry-Go-Round To Connect Strangers On The Street

Sitting on a bench at a bus stop or in the park, most people tend to focus on their smartphones or a book rather than whoever’s sitting next to them. But a new bench is designed to instantly connect strangers in a moment of play: When you sit down, the bench transforms into a makeshift merry-go-round.

“Connecting with other people is one of the great joys of being alive,” says artist George Zisiadis, who created the bench along with Rachel McConnell for the Market Street Prototyping Festival in San Francisco. “The Bench Go Round playfully reimagines a new way for city infrastructure to help us interact and have fun with each other.”

Everyone who tested the bench, as the video shows, has a perma-grin plastered to their faces as they spin in circles. “People were lining up for it,” Zisiadis says. “Over three days, there were thousands of people of all ages using it non-stop. Once they sat down, they couldn’t help but smile and laugh. People went from intrigued to excited very, very quickly.”

Zisiadis, an almost unbelievably prolific interactive artist behind dozens of other urban interventions (like giant hearts on city streets that turn people’s heartbeats into music, a mistletoe drone, disco ball traffic lights, and musical bike racks) hopes to eventually build a permanent version of the bench.

“The prototype proved people’s love for the design,” he says. “I’d very much welcome a commission for a permanent version.”