Trends in Public Seating Design

Trends in Public Seating Design

Furniture items for outdoor public spaces include a wide range of products: seating, sunscreens, different compartments, ashtrays, trash bins, planters, Information mediums, bicycle stands and many others. The popularity of different chargers for IT devices nowadays increasing. Among furniture elements, the most numerous are seating items. Their design solution depends on the purposes so one type of seating will be suitable for the sports facilities and for the restaurant terrace the other one. Also, size and type of outdoor public seating depend on the age of the users: in the kindergarten, they will be adjusted to the age of the children and in parks will be adjusted to the ergonomic requirements of the adult users.

l5-series-benches-by-marie-khouri-and-collaboration
l5-series-benches-by-marie-khouri-and-collaboration
These innovative public seats are hand-sculpted into sinuous interlocking shapes, such that they resemble the intricate articulations of the human spine.
Detail L5-series-benches-by-marie-khouri-and-collaboration
Detail L5-series-benches-by-marie-khouri-and-collaboration

The outdoor public seating furniture

Designers have created numerous types of public seating items such as individual seating: chairs, stools shez-long... or benches as the group seating. This type of furniture may be mobile or fixed when they are tied to the floor or walls.

Harmony CHAISE LONGUE Benches designed by Matous Holy for Bellitalia
Harmony CHAISE LONGUE Benches designed by Matous Holy for Bellitalia
Banch made of white granite or glossy concrete. Finishing: varnished with acrylic polyurethane paint anti UV.

The benches are produced in different materials, colours and styles, for different purposes: green areas, parks, town squares...

Benches are most often made up of modular elements which allow various forms of the groups: linear or circular seating. Their configuration affects social connections of the users: so that circular, semi-circular forms enable the links and direct face-to-face contact with the users, and linear configuration enabling the isolation and privacy. Benches have a social role in space. They allow a gathering of people, provide a place for comfortable seating and relaxation, or place for the first meeting of the young couple, for children to play ...

Materials

The basic condition that the material for the bench must fulfil is to be durable and resistant to atmospheric influences they are exposed.

Modern materials like polypropylene, polyethene etc. are suitable to produce outdoor seating. This material is grateful for the design and enables the realization of the complex forms.

Bench Folly designed by Ron Arad for Magis
Bench Folly designed by Ron Arad for Magis
Folly is made from rotational-moulded polyethylene with attractive shape. The dynamic, flowing form, in matt rust brown colour. Folly is resistant to all physical and environmental stresses. It is suitable for use in the garden of a private house but also in a park or in a square.
BDLove bench by Ross Lovegrove for  b.d Barcelona Design
BDLove bench by Ross Lovegrove for b.d Barcelona Design
Ross Lovegrove has designed items for public seating Love which look like attractive sculpture, with a form that attracts attention. Made from polyurethane, in attractive colours that enliven the space, so the product is suitable not only for open space but also for bars, restaurants, cafeteria. It is waterproof with dimensions which allow seating up to 10 people at one time.
Bench Loop  designed by Christophe Pillet for Serralunga
Bench Loop designed by Christophe Pillet for Serralunga
Loop was realized in linear low-density polyethylene, achieved by rotational moulding. A special feature is an opening in the internal part of the garden bench, which makes the structure lighter and the visual impact more streamlined, while at the same time making it stronger. Loop is with. UV protection, 100% recyclable with the high degree of mechanical strength. An illuminated version of the garden bench is available, using new LED technology.

Benches produced of concrete often have the interesting forms. Although taken from a robust material final result is organic, soft, even gentle form. Concrete benches are suitable for streets and bus stops, either linear or curved, maybe with different finishes. The richness of colours facilitates the integration of the environment with appropriate finishing and surface protection.

Lungo Mare designed by Escofet for landscapeforms
The shape creates a sense of harmony between the natural and built landscapes. Its undulating surface, suggesting rolling waves and sand dunes, welcomes several people to lounge in a variety of postures. Its stamped texture, resembling random deposits of sand, is comfortable against the skin.

Metal is ideal to produce the public furniture not only for construction items but also for all other components. The metal sheet (aluminium) can be decoratively perforated, often with a decorative lighting that accomplishes site-specific effects in the evening. Special attention is given to the quality of the edges to avoid injury to the users.

Moa bench designed by Gunilla Hedlund for Nola
Moa bench designed by Gunilla Hedlund for Nola
Moa is crafted from a double layer of laser-cut sheet steel that was perforated to form a lasting surface motif. Moa is attractive from many vantage points; it also creates a strong silhouette and casts a rich pattern of shadows around it.

Garden Benches made of wood are closest to the traditional product and today are with a special charm in appearance. To achieve the quality of the details some producers combine handmade craftsmanship with technological processes.

Benches Titikaka design by Naoto Fukasawa for B&B Italia ( Outdoor)
Benches Titikaka design by Naoto Fukasawa for B&B Italia ( Outdoor)
The traditional typology of the outdoor bench is redesigned in contemporary language. Made of teakwood slats that cover the structure to the ground on both front and back, positioned horizontally on the aluminium structure. Bench that resemble a sculpture. The wave -like arrangement to create curves that are both pleasant and ergonomically functional.

Benches are produced from oak, walnut, teak. The final finish and protection of the wood benches is an important issue. Protection with materials similar to the ones used for protection of yachts gives positive results.

Ripples bench designed by Toyo Ito for  Horm
Ripples bench designed by Toyo Ito for Horm
The Ripples bench produced from okoume wood, also known as Gaboon, native of tropical West Africa and hence perfectly suited to withstand humidity or light rain. A recognised icon, its craftsmanship transmits the ever-delicate poetry of Toyo Ito.

Wood, concrete or metal can be used for the entire product, or only as a detail. The wide range of material combination is available.

Bench   Satellite  designed by Eduard Herrmann for mmcite.
Bench Satellite designed by Eduard Herrmann for mmcite.
Bench made of heavy concrete. A cantilever seat is made of solid hardwood lamellas supported by steel frame. Elegant concave shape is decorative and functional too. It can completely transform a variety of locations, from parks or city squares to waterfronts.

Today, special attention is paid to the ecological characteristics of applied materials.

Therefore, except quality, durability, the priority to the producers are the materials that do not pollute the environment in any phase of production, installation, and operation.

Functionality

The benches often have some add functional value, for example, planters, lighting or the bicycle holder.

CROSSED Bench designed by Stéphane Chapelet for  Lab23
CROSSED Bench designed by Stéphane Chapelet for Lab23
The CROSSED benches are made in steel. The seat is characterized by a peculiar laser-cut texture, called CROSSED. Under the seat, 2 strong plates in steel are welded. For the realization of this product, Steel is used and later treated with a cycle of sandblasting, cataphoresis and powder coating. As an alternative to steel , the production in corten is also available, on demand. In this case the material is treated with a specific oxidation process.

Today, work becomes an integral part of every moment of ours. The benches with solar USB charger, protection and access to wireless internet become the place for alternative work/small workstation or entertainment.

This causes the new approach to the design of public seating furniture to provide the proper response to the need of the contemporary user.

Stylistic features

The architect or landscape designer scope of works is to incorporate outdoor furniture in environments, whether the old urban space, modern city square, park or sports facilities are in question. The task is always to create environment user-friendly.

Collection Stile Molecular Concrete :Stone free shape seat,design by Raffaele Lazzari, Raffaele Lazzari for Metalco
Collection Stile Molecular Concrete :Stone free shape seat,design by Raffaele Lazzari, Raffaele Lazzari for Metalco
Multi-purpose free-shape seat, lightened inside, available in Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) or High Performance Concrete (HPC), depending on the type of use. Fixings: Free standing with pedestals or Installation with threaded bars.