Chris Dobson, Isle of Bute, 2023



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  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Bench_05_-_Bench_in_Landscape_-_Keith_Hunter    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Bench_03_-_Approach_-_Chris_Dobson    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Bench_01_-_Bench_In_Landscape_-_Chris_Dobson    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Bench_02_-_Avenue_Approach_-_Chris_Dobson    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Bench_04_-_Interior_-_Chris_Dobson    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Bench_06_-_Doweled_Backrest_-_Chris_Dobson    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Monolith_-_Site_Location    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Monolith_-_General_Arrangement    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Monolith_-_Fabrication_Drawing    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Monolith_-_Cutting_Panel_Arrangement    
  • 4RNFXCF2IJREP1G_Bench_-_Axo    

The project concerns the creation of a new bench, located on the Mount Stuart estate, Bute.

The bench is one of four designs selected to be included within the Sitting Pretty exhibition, via a competitive process, administered and commissioned by Design Exhibition Scotland. Designed to offer shelter, whilst providing a place to dwell and rest, the bench draws inspiration from two precedents, specific to the Islands of Scotland - the brutalist concrete bus shelters of Lewis which both protect from the elements and afford visibility of approaching traffic and the enveloping comfort of the Orkney chair – rendering this in a more contemporary form of mass construction in the shape of homegrown, locally sourced and fabricated cross-laminated timber. Supported by expert advice from Peter Wilson of Timber Design Initiatives/Mass Timber Academy and BE-ST (formerly Construction Scotland Innovation Centre), the central focus of the project concerned the realising of the installation within the context of the nascent Scottish industry. The Douglas Fir used within the bench was sourced near Perth, with the cross-laminated timber manufacturing process itself taking place in BE-ST's facility in Hamilton (home of the UK’s only commercially-sized CLT press), thereby significantly reducing carbon emissions associated with transportation. Manufacturing waste was minimised in the sizing of the elements that form the bench, allowing for the most efficient panel dimension to be pressed within the laminator. It’s understood that the bench represents the first Douglas Fir-based CLT panel to be constructed in Scotland. With the placement of the bench at a popular destination and through its design leaving the material fully exposed, opportunity is present to raise public awareness of mass timber technology and the prospect of harnessing the country’s natural resource in its drive toward net zero carbon construction and support of local industry.


  • Begun: Jul 2023
  • Completed: Jul 2023
  • Floor area: 2m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £3,000
  • Funding: Competition commission / self-funding
  • Tender date: Jan 2022
  • Procurement: Bespoke
  • Address: Mount Stuart, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, PA20 9LR, United Kingdom

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