Avoiding a soggy bottom

One of the great things about Britain is the weather. It’s a constant source of small-talk because it’s always changing. However, it’s not so great on your precious lunch (or coffee) break.

Some of us like a bit of fresh air halfway through the day to get the blood pumping and reinvigorate the grey matter. But in these winter months… well, autumn, spring and most of summer too, come to think of it… dodging the showers can scupper these plans.

Even on a sunny day, a shower may not be far away. Finding a place to sit to have your lunch can be tricky, especially after a downpour, which can leave benches wet for hours afterwards. Either wooden benches soak in the moisture and even when they look dry can still be cold and damp to the touch or, worse still, metal benches can contain puddles of rain water until they are evaporated by the sun.

The challenge

This month’s challenge then is to come up with a design for public benches that ensures you will be able to keep your bottom dry.

The key to this is thinking about the cost: you’re going to potentially be replacing every bench in the country – if not the world – so a low cost, low-tech solution must be a factor. Also, they are outdoor bits of kit, so your design must be simple enough that it doesn’t require major or regular upkeep and maintenance, must be easy to use and must also work all year round regardless of temperature, humidity or anything else Mother Nature can throw at it.

The idea we have in mind will be revealed in the April issue of Eureka! Until then see what you can come up with. Submit your ideas by leaving a comment on the Coffee Time Challenge section of the Eureka! website or by emailing the editor: paul.fanning@markallengroup.com

The solution

Our solution to last month’s Coffee Time Challenge comes from Korean designer, Sung Woo Park whose idea could stop us Brits getting soggy bottoms when taking a sit down on a bench outdoors.

He has designed a bench which rotates by way of a simple handle so that there is always a dry side to sit on. You just have to turn the handle and the slats of the bench roll round a central cylinder to reveal a dry surface on which to sit.

Sung Woo's other designs include a tiny USB-stick camera, a universal remote that operates like a deck of cards, and an LED desk lamp designed to make use of the power left over in spent batteries.