‘Straw Benches’ is a bespoke seating public art commission by artist, Tom Pearman, celebrating the straw plaiting industry in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire.

The 3 benches are located in a new business park, Holla Road.

The patterns found on each bench when combined form the pattern of traditional straw plaiting, in particular a straw plait called, ‘English Pearl’.

The colours found in the bench designs are based upon traditional dyed straw used for plaiting. The overall shapes of the bench base designs reference bundles of straw and stacks of straw hats and their hat boxes.

RESEARCH For the research phase of the project, Tom Pearman was able to collaborate with Veronica Main MBE, the most experienced traditional straw hat plaiter in the U.K.

The site sits on a key gateway into the Bidwells West development which is delivering up to 1850 new homes, across 5 new landscape character areas.