Thom Fougere creates collection of ring-shaped benches for forest floor

Montreal-based designer Thom Fougere has created a small collection of ring-shaped benches cut from a single plate of steel and installed in the woods outside of Winnipeg.

Nesting Loops is a permanent installation consisting of seven benches placed along a hiking trail in Victoria Beach, Manitoba for passersby to rest and connect with nature.

Metal benches in a forest
Canadian designer Thom Fougere has created a series of ring-shaped benches

“I’m deeply interested in our connection to nature and how to elevates life’s subtleties, which nature grants us but often goes unnoticed,” said Fougere.

“The design of this installation aims to do just that, offering visitors the opportunity to connect with their surroundings and unplug in a secluded natural environment while using materials efficiently.”

Two circular benches sitting close to one another in a forest
They are installed in the woods outside of Winnipeg

The benches were cut from a half-inch thick plate of steel measuring eight feet by eight feet (2.4 metres by 2.4 metres).

Fougere cut the benches in four concentric rings, with each piece measuring 14 inches wide (35 centimetres) at its seating surface.

A metal bench encircling a tree
They were cut from a single plate of steel

The pattern means that the benches can “nest”, with each growing smaller in diameter and the last being a solid circle

Four small circular stools were also cut from each corner of the plate, which maximised the use of the material and cut down on waste.

Circular elements standing in a forest
Cut in concentric circles, the benches decrease in diameter

To create bases, Fougere affixed several steel tubes to the bottom of each ring and just one to the smaller central circle and additional stools.

The collection of benches was then installed on its woodland site, just a few feet from one another.

A circular seat
Small stools were also created

The widest of the benches encircles a young tree, while others sit on moss and leaves.

“The subdued sand-blasted aluminium surface passively captures the dappling of light through the surrounding forest canopy, creating a dynamic interplay between the installation and its natural surroundings,” said the team.

The project was created for the international design competition, Benchmark, which is organized by Storefront Manitoba and the Winnipeg Trails Association.

Each year, a designer is selected to reimagine the bench for permanent installation along local Winnipeg trails and beyond.

A small circular, flat metal benches
The technique decreased material usage

Fougere designed Nesting Loops as a memorial to the late David Penner, former executive director of local design NGO Storefront Manitoba.

Thom Fougere is a Montreal-based designer who once served as creative director of Canadian design company EQ3. In 2021, he established his design studio, Thom Fougere Studio.

Other recent bench design includes Pews and Perches’ playful brick seating along London’s Royal Docks and Vestre’s fossil-free steel bench.

The photography is by Thom Fougere.

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