Can unconventional furniture design change public interactions?

How much would urban exchanges change if public furniture design was widely integrated into city planning?

"Public furniture" is a term not many people use. There is something particularly utilitarian about benches and urban seating areas - as if furniture in public settings exists in a design vortex. But why should it?

Web Urbanist unveils the possibilities beyond the typical park bench.


Conversing gracefully is a balancing act. Dutch Designer Teun Fleskens' CHITCHAT bench brings our often playful - sometimes cringe-worthy - conversation attempts into the physical.


Why not get philosophical in public? Designer Peter Newman's Skystation draws on our collective vision of UFOs. In a time when lying down in public is often illegal - or at least frowned upon - Newman invites a relaxing subversion to the status quo.


Tom Hawes plays with how public space is "supposed" to be used with Skateable Furniture. Hawes says:

By virtue of its status as a misuse of public space, and because it is a symptom of defensive design, skateboarding is exceptionally good at drawing attention to the quietly exclusionary nature of modern public space.

Older children and young adults are either not considered in urban planning or outright excluded from public spaces. Skateboarders add value to many unused public spaces and regulate possibly dangerous spaces with their presence.

Check out the full 14 examples of unconventional urban furniture. What's missing? Let SmartPlanet know if there's an interactive, subversive, visually-striking-possibly-mobile public furniture event near you.

[via Web Urbanist; Planetizen]

Images: CHITCHAT courtesy of Astrid Zuidema, Skystation courtesy of Ron Bainbridge, Skateable Furniture courtesy of Tom Hawes

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