The public bench, honouring the humane ideals of Nelson Mandela, aims to promote dialogue and peaceful conversation outside the Nobel Peace Center
A sculptural bench designed by Snøhetta has been installed outside the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. Named ‘The Best Weapon’ – after Nelson Mandela’s quote, ‘The best weapon is to sit down and talk’ – the 6.5m-long, semicircular installation purposefully encourages dialogue and peaceful conversation.
The bench, created in partnership with Hydro and Vestre, pays tribute to Mandela’s humane ideals of compromise, dialogue and compassion, as well as the efforts of other Nobel Peace Prize laureates to bring people together to find effective solutions for peace.
The design itself aims to promote such interaction: ‘The gentle arc of the bench pulls those sitting on it closer together, subsequently and subtly encouraging dialogue,’ explains Marius Myking, director of product design at Snøhetta.
Commissioned by the Nobel Peace Center, The Best Weapon was first installed outside the UN Headquarters in New York on Nelson Mandela Day in July 2019. It has now been transferred to its new and permanent location in Oslo.
The installation is made from anodised aluminum manufactured by Hydro, which creates significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than the industry average aluminium. It was produced by Vestre in a completely carbon-neutral process. The robust material will ensure the bench’s longevity, hopefully promoting diplomacy and dialogue for many years to come.
Photography by Bjørnar Øvrebø
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