Orchestre: A Series of 26 Outdoor Seating Sculptures

Designed for the campus of the University of Literature and Human Sciences in Aix-en-Provence, Orchestre is a family of 26 elements created by French architect and artist Olivier Vadrot. Each one, halfway between seat and sculpture, represents a letter from the latin alphabet.

The entire project was inspired by the history of writing, from the Rosetta Stone to Egyptian hieroglyphs, the grouping arranged to form an imaginary ellipsis in reference to the stage of amphitheaters, known as “orchestre” in French.

Playful and inviting, Orchestre is a welcoming space that encourages interaction thanks to its abstract shapes: an O becomes a ring around which people can gather, an E turns into a bench for people to sit next to each other, and a U comes to be a double stool for a more intimate conversation.

Most of the elements are made of lava stone that’s been extracted from the Massif Central in France, while the smallest pieces are made of marble.