The Longest Bench

photos © SW

The Longest Bench

The Longest Bench in Britain, seating over 300 people along the spine of Littlehampton’s coastline - measures 324 metres in length.

Arun District Council
700 m2
Project dates
Design: March 2007 – March 2008 Preparation: August 2008 – July 2009 Production: August 2009 – July 2010 First Phase Completed: August 2010
Services provided
Architectural Installation Concept and Developed Design (RIBA St 2-3)
Design team
  • AKT II (Structural Engineer)

  • Jackson Coles (Cost Consultancy)

  • Millimetre Ltd (Fabrication)

  • Jane Wood and Sophie Murray, East Beach Café (Initiator)


AR+D Award for Emerging Architecture 2010, Finalist Civic Trust Award 2012, Winner Civic Trust Special Award for Community Impact and Engagement 2012, Winner

Project type
Object & Sculpture
Use type
Health & Wellbeing

Studio Weave were commissioned to develop proposals to create a distinctive sense of place along the promenade. We imagined the Longest Bench as a charm bracelet gifted to the town: a delicate piece of jewellery that can accommodate new and varied additions. The form of the bracelet’s chain is informed by the simple seaside boardwalk together with a mathematic theorem that envisages movement. The structure sinuously travels along the promenade, meandering around lampposts, bending behind bins, and ducking down into the ground to allow access between the beach and the green.

The Longest Bench was granted CABE’s ‘Sea Change’ funding, a capital grants programme for cultural and creative regeneration in seaside resorts and received a private donation from Gordon Roddick as a tribute to his late wife Anita (founder of the Body Shop, which is based in the town).

- - -

The Longest Bench was created from thousands of hardwood bars reclaimed from old seaside groynes (including Littlehampton’s) and landfill. The variety of timber is interspersed with splashes of bright colour wherever the bench wriggles, bends or dips. Old shelters have been replaced by bronze-finished monocoque loops, connecting the promenade with the green behind; views of the sea framed by the looping bench. We worked with local schoolchildren to inspire and develop the design. A playful approach to creating an imaginative and stretching sense of place has chimed with people of all ages, helped to build a strong sense of shared ownership.

The project has been published in magazines and newspapers around the world. And at the 2012 Civic Trust Awards, The Longest Bench won the Special Award for Community Impact and Engagement.

- - -