Unveiling Bello!: A Stylish Aluminium Bench with a Taste of Italy
Designer Lars Beller Fjetland partners with Hydro to create a one-of-a-kind bench inspired by transportation and Italian cuisine
Launched this April at Norway’s Milan showcase, Norwegian Presence, Bello! is the first product collaboration between Hydro and one of the contemporary greats of Norwegian design – Lars Beller Fjetland.
The collaboration continues Hydro’s tradition of partnering with emerging and established designers to explore and promote the creative potential – and sustainability credentials – of aluminium as a design material, while sending one of Scandinavia’s most well-known designers in an exciting new creative direction.
Named with a portmanteau in honour of both its creators, Bello! is an elegant and timeless bench made from nearly 90% recycled aluminium that is 100% recyclable. This approach ensures that the bench has a minimal carbon footprint, just one-fifth of the global average.
Lightweight, strong, highly durable and available in custom lengths and heights, Bello! was conceived as an indoor/outdoor seating solution with public transportation hubs in mind. The internal support structure of the bench allows for additions such as tables, lamps, and chargers to be easily integrated, as well as enabling multiple benches to be seamlessly joined together. Because Bello! can be produced in a wide spectrum of different colours using natural anodising, it can be customised to suit the style of any setting, domestic, municipal, or commercial.
An experiment in aluminium extrusion
Bello! is produced by the process of aluminium extrusion, in which the material is heated and pushed through a shaped opening using a press to create the desired shape, similar to the way in which one makes churros, or pasta shapes such as rigatoni or penne. In fact, as a devotee of Italian cuisine, Beller Fjetland very much had penne rigate in mind when developing the concept, which inspired its pasta-like appearance – reminiscent of a somewhat exaggerated version of al dente pasta.
The process of aluminium extrusion was a relatively new territory for the designer, who is well known for the honest materiality he brings to designs in wood and metal. Working with Hydro’s engineers and taking advantage of 3D printing to minimise wasted resources in development, Beller Fjetland created several prototypes and proofs of concept before deciding on the final extruded shape. He chose to give Bello! a subtly ridged surface texture that adds a touch of softness and tactility to the bench.
"The subtle ridges add so much value - you just have to run your fingers across the surface. These tactile discoveries mean so much to me. With this design I really wanted to emphasise the possiblities of extruded aluminium. It is very much a culmination of everything I appreciate – from the planes, trains and buses that were designed in the 1930s–1970s, to brutalist architecture and, last but not least, pasta!
- Lars Beller Fjetland
The material of a more sustainable future
As well as being a beautiful and functional piece of furniture, Bello! demonstrates aluminium’s potential as a practical and more sustainable design material. With up to 80% of a product's environmental footprint determined during the design phase, Hydro has instituted a programme of collaboration with designers such as Lars Beller Fjetland in order to drive innovation in the design industry and encourage the creation of more sustainable products in recyclable aluminium.
"At Hydro, we believe that more sustainable design starts with more sustainable production. Aluminum is looked upon as a metal of future, offering unparellal strength, durability and recyclablity. its properties make it an ideal choice for a wide range of applications, and our commitment to reducing CO2 emission by 30% by 2030 positions us at the forefront of mqore sustainable innovation. Colloborating with talented designers like Lars Beller Fjetland is crucial to unloacking the full potential of aluminium as a design material
- Asle Forsbak, Marketing Director, Hydro Extrusions
Although nearly 90% of the aluminium that forms Bello! is already recycled, there are no signs of its former life – perhaps as part of an engine or window frame – in the finished bench. It is 100% recyclable at the end of its life – which, thanks to its durability, strength, and adaptability, will be a long one.
“I have been aiming towards creating something that should be able to not only last, but also fulfil its purpose for hundreds of years into the future. My personal belief is that we haven't even scratched the surface of what's possible with this ingenious method of manufacturing.”
– Lars Beller Fjetland