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Designed by London-based Shiro Studio for Italian brand Metalco, the “Uluru” collection has been conceived as a modular and sculptural family of seating elements made of UHPC—ultra-high-performance concrete. The set has been conceived to offer a playful experience in public spaces.

When describing the pieces, Andrea Morgante of Shiro Studio comments, “I was interested in generating a serene form that could gently relate to the human body whilst seating in different postures and positions. Public benches have somehow the noble responsibility to connect people to the surrounding environment and at the same time, to offer a comfortable rest.”

Shiro Studio gave “Urulus” a sculptural identity that begins from a plain surface that is gently pulled vertically to create a comfortable backrest support. Each component is modular so when connected to each other they form a continuous, sculptural micro-landscape that can vary in size and configuration.

Playfulness is also very important; in public spaces the benches can become an improvised playground, allowing children to explore the different seating postures while engaging with their innate spatial curiosity.”The availability of UHPC was also a crucial factor during the design development of the “Uluru” collection,” Morgante explains.

“We wanted to fully explore and challenge the vast potential of this innovative and versatile material through a form that could emphatically communicate lightness, strength, and fluidity. UHPC ductal allowed us to create an incredibly light yet rigid concrete structure, just 20 millimeters thick.”

The nearly non-porous surface allows “Urulus’s” final finish to be closer to polished granite than to normal cast concrete. Compression strength, abrasion and thermal show resistance and UV stability are among few of the qualities that are closely associated with UHPC.

Designer: Shiro Studio

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