Commissioned by the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, and designed by Snøhetta, the installation entitled The Best Weapon, was first unveiled to the public at the United Nations Headquarters’ Plaza in New York City. This urban peace bench aims to honor “the past Nobel Peace Prize laureates and their efforts to bring people together to find effective solutions for peace”.
Conceived as a symbol of diplomacy and dialogue, the reveal was planned on Nelson Mandela Day, because the six-and-a-half meter-long aluminum installation, pays tribute to the president’s “humane ideals of compromise, dialogue, and compassion”. In fact, the installation borrowed its name from one famous quote for Nelson Mandela, who stated that “the best weapon is to sit down and talk”. With a particular design, the partial circular bench meets the ground at its lowest point, generating an intimacy between those sitting on it, pulling them closer together, through its gentle arc. The functional sculpture offers, therefore, a resting place and a social interactive space where people can get together.
The foremost precondition for peace is bringing people together. We believe in using design as a tool to create lasting symbols that foster fruitful communication -- Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Snøhetta founder.
The Best Weapon is “a resilient symbol that anchors the Peace Center’s mission for discourse and peace”. In partnership with Vestre, a leading manufacturer of sustainable furniture for cities, and Hydro, a fully integrated aluminum company, the installation will remain till the 15th of October on the main entry to the Headquarters’ plaza, next to the famous Non-Violence sculpture, popularly referred to as The Knotted Gun by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, before being transferred to its permanent location in Oslo, where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually.