The design and position of street furniture have a crucial role in how people socially interact and use the public realm and built environment. There are links with improving well being and health, increasing footfall and economic uplift in areas where the street furniture attracts people to stay and use the civic space.  However, the selection of benches and seats for projects can be tricky as choosing a sofa for your living room!

After over nearly 15 years of working on numerous new build and regeneration projects and reading the literature by William Whyte, Jane Rogers etc. and research by Projects for Public Places

 

Currently, we are at prototype development stage for six designs of benches with movable components. These features are being tested by the public and professionals to .fine tune the more complex engineering components, appropriateness and durability of materials

“The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.”

― Michel de Montaigne, The Essays: A Selection

 

Examples of how the design of a seat influences use and conversation in the public spaces:

Curved Seating

@Gaudi Parque Guell. Flexible seating,back support. Encourages conversation through multiple angles and variations of shapes of seating.

Linear with Back Seating

©GettyImages. Static bench with back support. People angle themselves to converse with their neighbour in contrast to the geometry of the bench.

Pod Seating

© UnionBench by JangirMaddadi. Encourages multiple seating variations, however lacks comfort and back support. A little cramped.

Picnic Bench

©La Grande Cantine by Jean-Baptiste Hardoin. Long stay seat and table, space hungry and bulky

Wide Linear Seat

©Smart Solar Bench - EnGoPlanet. Wider seat allows more adaptable use, lacks back support. People in conversation angle themselves in contrast to the geometry of the bench. Solar powered.

Narrow Linear

©Glasdon. Narrow, basic, robust, uncomfortable and lacks back support

Perched Seats

©Gillespies. Varying heights, informal seating options (though may have not been designed to used as such), a short stay seat.

Temporary Seating

©Project for Public Spaces. Vary use, uncomfortable, flexible and moveable

Wavy Bench

©KI Collaborative Studio Grace La and James Dallman. Multiple use, adaptable and flexible, space hungry more suitable for an internal environment or large outdoor space with different materials