Julien De Smedt’s new universal bench for Vestre with multiple seating levels, allowing people to sit in a way that is less prescribed, more flexible, and more social

Copenhagen, Denmark

Europe 40 Under 40 Laureate Julien De Smedt has devised two new public indoor/outdoor seating/dining products for Norwegian furniture manufacturer Vestre called “Stoop.”

Stoop Picnic by Julien De Smedt

Stoop is a social and informal meeting place based on the universal idea of using steps as places to sit. 

Now, the Stoop mini bench and Stoop picnic table have been added to the series—additions that open up the possibility of even more interactions and applications.

Both new members of the Stoop family further develop the idea of how stairs offer natural seating and gathering places in urban environments. 

De Smedt came up with Stoop after looking at locations where there is no bench available and people still sit, doorsteps, handrails, and stairs function as a seat. 

Stoop Picnic by Julien De Smedt

As a reference De Smedt pictured in mind a famous photograph: A Great Day in Brooklyn, taken by Art Kane in 1958, which shows a gathering of all the famous jazz musicians from the 20th-Century, posing on indeed- a stoop.

Whether waiting in front of a friend’s house on a stoop in Brooklyn, posing with a tourist group on the Spanish Steps in Rome or having a picnic on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, De Smedt decided to incorporate the universal idea of using stairs as a sitting object, into the design of a bench.

Stoop newly introduced mini is a smaller version of the original Stoop bench. 

It quickly becomes a social and playful meeting place, and the shape makes it easy to link several benches together and form an urban auditorium where each bench has room for up to five people. 

Stoop Picnic by Julien De Smedt

Since the idea of the design is to enable spontaneous interactions in public spaces, the furniture needs to be sufficiently versatile to adapt to different environments and their differing conditions. 

That is why the Stoop concept has been expanded—to meet a wide range of different needs.

“Stoop mini came about after a long period of demand from schools, especially in the US, which really wanted a Stoop, but were prevented by regulations concerning height restrictions,” states De Smedt.

Stoop Picnic by Julien De Smedt

It made us consider the size and the possibility that a smaller, more intimate STOOP could represent a seating solution that would fit many spaces where the larger STOOP bench might be too large.”

“And since they belong to the same family, they can of course be combined.” 

The second edition, the Stoop picnic table, is a more comprehensive development of the Stoop concept, where the distinctive design language has been applied to the traditional picnic table with two fixed benches and a table in the middle. 

Stoop picnic table invites young and old alike to sit down for a moment of conversation, work, or a cup of coffee. 

The table is also wheelchair accessible as standard, and a wheelchair can be placed at either end. 

Stoop Picnic by Julien De Smedt

It’s also possible to create additional seating by placing chairs at the ends.

“We had already thought about using Stoop as an impromptu lunch table but wanted to open up to a wider audience. This welcoming design embodies the whole concept of gathering around a table,” explains De Smedt.

The new Stoop pieces are made up of a robust construction of hot-dip galvanized steel and comfortable wooden surfaces to sit on. 

And as with all other furniture, the series is available in 200 RAL colors for powder coating and comes with a lifetime guarantee against rust.

Project: Mini Stoop and Stoop Picnic
Architects: JDS Architects
Lead Architect: Julien De Smedt
Manufacturer: Vestre AS