Set within the dramatic landscape of Waddesdon Manor grounds, David Adjaye’s bench is a sculptural counterpoint to Waddesdon’s recent acquisition, Jean-Siméon Chardin’s Boy Building a House of Cards. In response to the themes of the painting, which show a boy in a moment of intense concentration constructing a fragile balance of cards, the bench demonstrates an unusual relationship between stability, structure and gravity.
The bench offers two paired lower seating positions on either side of a raised single plane, which conversely proposes a seat for solitary contemplation. This raised element appears to balance precariously between the two supports of the lower seats. Composed of cast concrete, the bench is solid and elemental; its apparent density accentuates the surprise of the upper element, which although supported discreetly by a stainless steel plinth, seems to hover improbably at the centre of the arrangement. Treated with a white aggregate, the exposed concrete is elegant while also suggesting an unadorned materiality with its speckled geological quality. The form of the left seat is marked by an inclined cut, which implies a single formal moment within the overall composition.