A most unusual object has recently been installed on a street corner of the former Yantian port district of Shenzhen, China, that may at first appear to be a peace offering from an alien race. Designed by the London-based architecture firm Sam Jacob Studio (SJS), the Yantian Dolmen is a part of a family of urban furniture elements that blur the distinction between art and design. The Yantian Dolmen was commissioned for the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture of Shenzhen and Hong Kong (UABB 2019) and responds to the year’s theme of “Urban Interactions” by inspiring curiosity and social engagement in its appropriation. The piece was designed in a nod to the dolmen, a type of megalithic tomb structure developed in the early Neolithic period over five thousand years ago. Much as how present-day archaeologists continue to question the role they served during the Stone Age, the Yantian Dolmen is a willfully unconventional street furniture piece with a range of uses limited only by the public imagination. Because its role and meaning might therefore change over time, Sam Jacob, founder of SJS, described the piece in a statement as a “social sculpture” whose use always remains provisional rather than fixed, and on his Instagram as a “municipal dolmen/shelter/porch structure.” “In the dolmen,” Jacob wrote in a statement, “elements of Neolithic monument merge with everyday contemporary shelters to create a more ambiguous formal arrangement.” Two abstracted triangular blocks and two steel tubes recalling urban hazard equipment hold up a massive chunk of ‘stone’ to create an overall form that appears both impossibly heavy and partially airborne. The Yantian Dolmen is the latest in a series of projects SJS is producing that combines elements of ancient and contemporary cultures, including the MK Menhir, a 1:1 replica of an Avebury standing stone on a porte cochère northwest of England, a replica of a clay beaker found at a Middle Bronze Age burial site fabricated using contemporary fabrication tools, and the Archaeographic House, a design proposal hybridizing the 4,000-year-old dwelling of Skara Brae on Orkney, Scotland, with the Alison and Peter Smithson’s House of the Future designed in 1956. A dolmen-inspired accessory dwelling unit designed by Anna Neimark was also recently on view at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) that, much like the Yantian Dolmen, recalls “the architecture of forgotten narratives, eroded tectonics, and muddled grammar.”
Posts tagged with "Street Furniture":
Roast a rack of ribs on David Rockwell’s behemoth outdoor drill and then devour them all in a precious daybed. With summer just around the corner, we collected the following outdoor furniture either designed by or for architects. Rockwell by Caliber Rockwell Group for Caliber Appliances Rockwell Group teamed up with Caliber on a 360-degree grill. Allowing people to gather on all four sides, the grill fosters a communal cooking experience. It features an aluminum canopy that emulates how a table cloth drapes over a picnic table. Cottage Patricia Urquiola for Kettal Milan-based Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola, designed the daybed to be flexible for all climates with a customizable system of louvers, curtains, and fabric coverings. It is available in various wood stains and colored textiles. Origami Ramón Esteve for Vibia Spain-based architecture firm Ramón Esteve Studio conjured this otherworldly modular lighting system inspired by the Japanse paper-folding art. Using a single point as the source of electricity, various LED fixtures can aggregate to create virtually endless compositions. ELEMENTS Claesson Koivisto Rune for Widala Swedish architecture, industrial design, and interior design firm, Claesson Koivisto Rune designed a collection of public grills and furniture that emulates circular geometries found in nature. Consisting of stools, benches, planters, and a range of barbecues in different sizes, the pieces are perfect for public parks or backyards of multifamily homes. Acacia Extremis With a new take on the traditional umbrella form, this inverted, asymmetrical parasol creates the most amount of shading from the least amount of surface area. Mimicking the small leaf canopies of the Acacia tree, it is positioned upwards towards the sun (instead of downward) to create as much shade as a larger parasol could.
These new pieces of street furniture provide comfortable solutions for urban environments and bring beauty to the landscape.
Phoenix Bench A David Trubridge for UAP SUPPLY New Zealand–based furniture designer David Trubridge’s collection of curvaceous hand-carved granite and laminated hardwood timber benches are perfect for gatherings. The soft biomorphic forms provide comfortable seating that weathers well in both public spaces and commercial settings. Relay Street Level Sensing and Waste Control Service Victor Stanley Forgot it was trash day? These digitally connected recycling and waste bins are equipped with sensors that provide real-time data on their fill level, weight, location, collection status, and temperature. A subscription service disrupts the traditionally fixed collection routine, reducing the environmental impact of fossil fuels while maintaining the cleanliness of public spaces.
Vaya Collection Forms + Surfaces Fashioned from Cumaru hardwood and solid aluminum, this family of chairs, benches, and tables is 100 percent recyclable. Designed for lounging, these chairs and benches feature reclined backrests made of wood slats and aluminum armrests. Fitzwater Rain Tank Shift Tall, steel, and sleek, the Fitzwater Rain Tank stores up to 58 gallons of water. The rain saving station features a winterizing lid, screw-on spout, and connections for drip irrigation.
Ribambelle Collection Fermob This collection of 100 percent aluminum tables is modular by design. Make space for up to six, eight, or ten guests by inserting anywhere from one to three leaves from the hidden compartment under the tabletop. It is available in 24 colorful finishes. Bike Rack Flycycle Streamline cluttered bike parking with a rack that saves space. The steel system features an elevated loop that a cyclist slides the front wheel into, securely locking the bike in place between the grooved trackways. The orderly positioning prevents handlebars from tangling and allows bikes to be parked more closely together.
Celebrate international, impactful design as you take in the summer sun, enjoy great local eats, and take a tour of the Street Seats exhibition! The Street Seats Grand Opening is the culmination of ideation, creative problem-solving, and teamwork from designers around the globe. Street Seats is an outdoor public exhibition that celebrates local and international design, urban innovation, and sustainability. Designers from 6 continents, 24 countries, and 22 U.S. states responded to an open call for entries to Reimagine the Public Bench. These fifteen chosen Street Seatsare environmental and unique, embracing and enhancing the vibrancy of downtown Portland. Each bench was imagined, designed, and built by creatives from around the world. Join us for the Grand Opening, August 9th from 5-7pm as we launch this 6-month outdoor design exhibition and announce the top 3 Finalists, each receiving cash prizes.
Whether used to enhance the identity of an entire community or an individual institution, street furnishings present a primary opportunity to engage the public with design. From planters and bike racks to seating and waste bins, all elements play a part in the dialogue. Cirque Collection Kornegay Design These cast concrete landscape containers take their design cues from nature: Composed of 24 facets placed at 15º intervals, the tapered-cylindrical form interprets the rotation of the earth. Designed by Larry Kornegay. Twist Bike Rack Forms + Surfaces Tweaking a double helix form, this bike rack offers two-point support and multiple locking options. Made of solid cast aluminum, it is available in 20 powder-coat finishes. Big Blok with Lights Tectura Designs Combining seating with lighting, this massive cast-concrete form measures 52x52x18 inches. A coordinating bench-style model is also available. Designed by Damon Farber Associates. Basket Planters Fermob A steel frame/handle makes these aluminum planters portable. The Long model measures 47 x 10 x 29 inches; the High model measures 28 x 13 x 33 inches. Available with anti-UV powder-coating in 24 colors. Designed by Fabio Meliota. Pitch Waste Bin Landscape Forms Pitch is a litter receptacle with flair. The heavy, stable cast-iron base coordinates with the perforated aluminum sides of the container. Available in freestanding and surface mount models, in top- and side-opening styles. Designed by frog. Siardo 700R Benkert Bänke The open structure of this bench ensures that water and debris don't collect on the surface of the seating area. The stainless steel piece can be finished in several powder-coat colors. Designed by Gerhard Benkert.
Community Board 5 is experimenting with a temporary pedestrian plaza and sidewalk expansion around Penn Station to manage foot traffic around one of the busiest rail stations in the world. A guiding vision behind these projects is to link Penn Station and Madison Square Garden to the more pleasant Herald Square and Greeley Square area. Snøhetta designed the master plan for the area while Brooklyn's W Architecture & Landscape Architecture, working with Production Glue and in partnership with Vornado Realty Trust, designed Plaza33 on 33rd Street between 7th and 8th avenues. The plaza is intended to create a smoother gradient between the street and the sidewalk to streamline pedestrian flow. The trial period for Plaza33 began July 19th and runs through October 11th. So far, Plaza33 has received positive feedback from Community Board 5's constituents. Street furniture, including hybrid benches and planters, offers a place for pedestrians to relax and socialize. Public art by Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein enlivens the corridor, while community programming, including yoga and film screenings, are planned to activate the space. The West 32nd Street sidewalk expansion transforms the space more minimally but is far more controversial. In principle, residential and commercial stakeholders on the target blocks strongly support the plazas. In practice, however, the re-arrangement of space creates conflicts for users. Loading zones on 32nd Street were reduced by 500 feet. Trash collection, boarding for the M4 bus, and services for residential tenants compete for only 180 feet of loading space. Vornado is working with property owners and renters on the block to mitigate the impact of reduced street space. It remains to be seen whether these problems can be resolved to the satisfaction of all (or most) parties before the end of the trial period.
Fleurt, the winning design for the Battery Conservancy America's "Draw Up a Chair" competition, has been described as an “archetypal floral form” and even a “whimsical suggestion of sun-loving flowers floating in a field.” But it is much more than that. Fleurt “announces openness and photogenic warmth” and creates a “memorable, diaphanous landscape.” Fleurt “stretches out” with its “lounging curves.” Fleurt is, yes, fine, technically a chair. Fleurt comes to us from the mind of Canadian designer Andrew Jones who just won New York’s first-ever, open-call competition to create a moveable chair for a city park. The contest, which was launched in 2012 by the New York City Parks Department and the Battery Conservancy, received 679 submissions from across the Americas. From there, a jury selected 50 finalists and then prototypes of five of those designs were fabricated and exhibited to the public. And then, after 4,000 comments were collected, the jury picked Fleurt as the winner. And if it wasn't clear from the above descriptions of said chair, the competition organizers were very, very excited to announce that. Very excited. If you can slice through all the adjectives surrounding Fleurt, it is possible to get a sense of just the basics. The chairs are made of perforated steel and will be fabricated in varying shades of blue. The floral aesthetic is realized through petal-shaped armrests that may or may not be comfortable. “I don’t like the way it forces you to make a decision with your arms,” one sitter told the New York Times after trying out the Fleurt. To be fair, his wife disagreed with that assessment, saying “I’m not bothered by the arm rests." Soon enough you, too, can weigh-in on the Great Fleurt Armrest Debate of 2014 as the chairs are expected to arrive on the Battery Oval in Lower Manhattan by the end of the year.
Whether it be Times Square’s "meeting bowls" or Chelsea’s metal shutter benches, New York City has developed a tradition of engaging in innovative approaches to integrate various types of seating amenities. The latest piece of street furniture in the works is the ALIS bench, designed by Edward Kim, Tommaso Casucci, Charles Jones, and Mike Nesbit, which may soon augment the landscape of Battery Park, an area that commonly serves as a site for experimentation in the design of communal enclaves. Sturdy and lightweight, the bench is fabricated through a process of plastic injection molding. This eco-friendly product is inspired by the designers’ keen interest in renewable resources. The plastics chosen for fabrication are made from renewable or reproducible sources such as plant-based products and have been increasingly used in the production of plastic materials over the past century, particularly those found in playground equipment. The end result is an environmentally friendly product that also provides optimum comfort to its users. The designers describe ALIS as a “temporal instrument” deeply embedded in the landscape. Its “fiber logic” substructure distributes external forces through its skin system and lights up the bench’s intricate web of fibers at night. The bench’s curves adapt to the shape and configuration of the human body. The intertwinement of fiber bundles in the bench efficiently responds to areas of higher impact stress and creates a rigid and thick material surface resulting in a more durable structure.