08 Bench

To focus on local culture, and to celebrate its uniqueness. The “Storyteller” bench was commissioned by Sir Phil Redmond as a one off to celebrate Liverpool's success as Capital of Culture 2008. The finished article provides somewhere to sit, to remember and to create new memories and culture. Every person has a story to tell and scousers tell them best, some of our most reflective moments are shared with another on public seating, our accent and language is unique and gives us a great sense of identity.


Ilsa and her team worked through a total of four iterations over a number of years to ensure that the finished article was fit for purpose, well engineered and memorable fully reflecting the legacy of 2008. 

The design uses elements of the capital of culture 08 logo to create recesses within which people will sit, so that they may be literally immersed in the cities culture as the stories of the people and the place surround them in print. the story was water jet cut out of stainless steel and is taken from sections of "The Liverpool Saga" written by  local poet Roger Mc Gough. An 800 line poem contibuted to by people from across Merseyside in honour of Liverpool's 800th birthday. 


The typeface was custom designed by Ilsa with the letters purposely varying in scale for emphasis and to assist the mind to absorb the key memories and messages.



One of the things we wanted from this project was for the bench to be a legacy of 2008 and to be around for years and years to come. The whole concept was about creating a bench that could be anything to anybody at any time. I believe Ilsas design achieves this.



From the first tentative scratch of the pen To the keyboard’s final breathless amen, One poem. A patchwork of laughter and tears. Eight hundred lines. Eight hundred years.


seven streets a pool and a castle Ÿ that’s how it began Ÿ jesters jongleurs troubadours Ÿ scouse sharp wit was forged Ÿ born entertainers Ÿ nobody’s fools Ÿ a city haunted by her past lies dreaming of her future Ÿ the ferry waits but not the tide Ÿ wondrous river full of power and might Ÿ heritage site Ÿ our forebears sinned to gather wealth Ÿ badly treated many slaves Ÿ one river two liver birds three graces four mop topped singers Ÿ world famous faces Ÿ tocky crocky walton-on-the-hill Ÿ dockers rockers flying pickets Ÿ snotty nosed kids with dirty necks no shoes on their feet no arse in their kecks.

Eight hundred different stories, eight hundred different songs Ÿ Eight hundred different cultures, eight hundred different tongues Ÿ Eight hundred different rhythms in eight hundred different streets Ÿ Eight hundred hundred different hearts all dancing to one beat.


mersey tunnel Ÿ in my liverpool home Ÿ jam butties pan of scouse meccano and football Ÿ refinery some might say from lyle to modern tate Ÿ liverpool echo laid on the floorboards a great underlay Ÿ city divided by colours Ÿ red and blue but when it matters we stick like glue Ÿnationalities in a giant melting pot Ÿ conundrum of cultures Ÿ this city is great how do I know Ÿ nowhere on earth I’d rather go Ÿ we can come back but not go back Ÿ what more do you need from a city like this Ÿ two football teams, two cathedrals and pop stars with hits Ÿ you name it we’ve got it we do it in style Ÿ you can always tell a scouser but you can’t tell him much


One poem. A patchwork of laughter and tears. Eight hundred lines. Eight hundred years. From the first tentative scratch of the pen To the keyboards final breathless amen.