Nassau, The Bahamas – Recycled Casuarinas were changed into 11 benches to provide residents and visitors a quiet place to sit and enjoy the ocean view on Saunders Beach. Five trees were milled for the bench project, however all 60 trees are expected to recycled for public use.
“As a result of transforming the Centreville House grounds, I was invited to create the benches for Saunders Beach and I tried to utilise as many indigenous materials as I possibly could,” said Antonius Roberts, a sensual, environmental artist, who operates Post House Studios and Gallery on Prospect Ridge.
“I though it would be wonderful to create opportunities for people to sit and decompress, in and around nature, on benches made from recycled materials.”
As benches, the Casuarinas will still serve an ornamental purpose, without imposing any collateral damage. Mr. Roberts masterminded the concept because he sensed the solution was the most appropriate, for the invasive species to keep its presence at Saunders Beach.
These benches have become the Tao of Saunders Beach to balance the past criticisms of the Government’s vision to upgrade the area.
“While appreciating there is a national effort to eradicate Casuarinas from along our shorelines, I used the wood and created benches for the park at Centreville House because I know the wood is hard and dense,” said Mr. Roberts.
“I was invited by Four Seasons Landscaping and the Ministry of Works to produce benches for Saunders Beach. I said I would have no problem producing the benches, as long as I have access to some of the wood from the Casuarina trees that were removed from the Saunders Beach area. They loved the idea.”
Saunders Beach is the western part of the Downtown Redevelopment Plan to transform the coastal public spaces on New Providence into a peaceful escape.
Positive public feedback has encouraged developers to use the recycled Casuarinas to create more seating areas for civic relaxation and recreation, as well as wait for public transportation.
These projects are expected to revitalise public hot spots by creating green spaces for Bahamians and tourists to share an appreciation for the natural beauty of the tropical environment.
“It’s actually wonderful to be able to sit near the water’s edge and feel the spray of the ocean, smell the beautiful fresh air, and just enjoy the wonders of The Bahamas,” said Mr. Roberts.
“So to see the way Bahamians have kind of embraced these benches actually is very significant for me as an artist. I am getting an incredible amount of requests for these benches. No one has said anything negative about these benches and that is amazing.”