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Why Public Outdoor Furniture Matters




Although it might be easy to forget sometimes, furniture in public spaces serves a very big purpose. Choosing the right pieces for an outdoor space can result in very different aesthetics, and there is also the balance of functionality and materials to consider. All in all, there’s a lot that goes into these decisions to promote a series of things that are not readily observed, or even considered. In this article we take a look at a few of things to help renew your appreciation for outdoor furniture, whether it be in the park, the shopping mall or even a quiet suburban street!

Creating a public space with outdoor furniture

It should already be somewhat clear that outdoor park furniture serves a very practical purpose – a bench is there for people to sit on, after all. But is that all that a bench does in a public space? And what goes into choosing the right bench for that space? Benches and other forms of outdoor public furniture are very infrequently just for show, and these objects are often introduced to give a unique sense of space. Imagine, if you will, a park without a bench in sight – it looks a bit unnatural, don’t you think? The addition of things like rubbish bins to accompany these benches might seem like a purposeless design, but even this can make a space far more visitor-friendly than it otherwise would be. In fact, sitting in these places can very easily be imagined as a highly unique experience – one expected when going to a park, but one not necessarily considered on its own. The clever use of furniture in public places can offer a very unique sense of welcome and warmth that would very quickly go missed if absent, and pieces like benches can be a great way to encourage people to stay a little while longer than they otherwise would.

Benches mean more than you think

Although on the surface it can be seen as a place of rest and relaxation, the use of outdoor furniture out in public is a great way of encouraging social interactions. Whether used by the elderly, parents, or people on their work lunch break, a park bench can create interactions that were simply not possible before. This is even more the case with the strategic placement of these benches – a bench in the corner of the park is hardly going to get foot traffic, but the benches placed in certain highly trafficked areas will inevitably lead to all sorts of people taking a seat. Something that is less considered, however, is the use of outdoor furniture in public spaces to balance out some less aesthetically appealing aspects of public spaces. These other objects might include blockers, bollards and barriers (which rarely have any aesthetic appeal), or any signs that might forbid certain activities.

Public outdoor furniture in the future

Social needs are constantly changing, and this is also true in the case of public outdoor furniture. A move away from mass manufactured materials and interest in renewables has meant that responsible sourcing of outdoor furniture has become a priority with councils and similar bodies. Whether this means recycled plastic or wood sourced from sustainable forests, this has changed the approach to furniture for many.

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