Story at a glance:

  • Tomek Rygalik designed Circula as a space for public interaction and conversation.
  • Circula is metaphorically and literally circular, as it is made from recycled and sustainably sourced materials.
  • Three supports and three smart, interlocking modules keep this public seating design steady even on uneven surfaces.

As the months of pandemic living extend indefinitely on, Polish designer Tomek Rygalik created Circula as a symbolic and functional piece of furniture for dialogue and coming together.

“Human beings are not intended to be a solitary species. We are social animals. Today everyone’s talking about distancing, but there will come a moment dedicated to recovery from all of this, both physically and relationally,” Rygalik said in a press release.

Designed for public spaces, Circula emphasizes circularity in terms of sustainability, balance, and personal connection from the core of its design. The circular form of the bench intends to encourage sharing and creative flow by allowing those who use it to look each other in the eye and engage in conversation, whether for informal meetings, brainstorming sessions, or social visits.

Circula was initially commissioned to encourage interaction between children in schools but has become a more general solution for public spaces of all kinds. ECO Solidarity, a project between Rygalik and the Polish Cultural Institute of New York that evaluates the social impact of multidisciplinary design in public spaces, is a cornerstone of the ethos behind Circula.

1. Sustainable Materials

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Circula comes in recycled plastic designed in collaboration with Boomplastic. Photo by Agnieszka Kula

“In the case of Circula, the choice of sustainable and durable materials grew out of the intrinsic values of the project: sustainability, circularity, durability, and accessibility,” said Rygalik. As such, Circula is available in a recycled plastic material made in collaboration with Boomplastic, FSC- or PEFC-certified spruce or pine wood, or phosphate steel.

2. Circularity

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Also available in sustainably sourced spruce wood, Circula is a place for socializing. Photo courtesy of Studio Rygalik

Not only is the public seating design literally circular, but it also uses the circle as a metaphor for both its environmental goals and its social implications as a place to gather and unify people.

Plus, for each piece purchased another is donated to a company, association, or foundation that requests one for social or charitable purposes, while pieces that are no longer used can be returned to the company for recirculation.

3. Smart design

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A hidden interlocking mechanism links the seat modules to produce Circula’s form. Photo courtesy of Studio Rygalik

An integrated, hidden interlocking mechanism connects three modules to make up the seat of Circula, which rests on three legs that guarantee complete stability. The circular form and interlocking modules make for efficient production. Its standard, 1,900-millimeter diameter size seats two to six people.