What is urban furniture?

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Effective and quality urban furniture can make our overall experience of public spaces richer.

Urban furniture is “furniture” for urban space, i.e. for spaces that are used by public at large, such as sidewalks, parks, public plazas and parking spaces. They could be benches, bus stops, street lights and sign boards. They can serve a function, be artistic or both. These everyday objects affect our spirit and behaviour. Effective and quality urban furniture can make our overall experience of public spaces richer. For designers of urban spaces, it is essential to understand the principles of place making and urban furniture. Urban furniture should be designed in the way that meets all or at least some of following attributes and encourages user engagement and contributes positively to the environment. Learn how to design public spaces in the 3H Summer School from 15th July to 5th August in Auroville.

1. Safe

Public spaces are accessible to everyone, thus when planning urban furniture, designers must take into account the diverse user groups interacting with it: the aged, the disabled and also children. The urban furniture should be safe for all user types. There may be instances where there is a dominant user group, for which it is designed. However, urban furniture should be inclusive and safe for all user groups.

2. Multi-functional and Comfortable

People tend to avoid things they dislike. If a user had negative experience he/she will hesitate to sit on the bench again. For example negative experiences can include uncomfortable seating, a dissatisfying view or even a foul odour from a nearby dustbin. Negative experiences can be overcome through good placemaking principles. Moreover, furniture should offer multiple ways for users to interact with it, allowing them a sense of customization of the space.

3.Creative and Innovative

Mass production is cheaper which is why in most cities we see same the kind of benches, dustbins and bus stations. Though this may offer a sense of continuity at a macro level of the urbanscape, it is very necessary to look for creative thinking at the micro scale. Does the urban furniture sit well in the context of its immediate environment? Good designs are never rigid and bring an interesting element to an otherwise mundane landscape.

4. Environmentally Friendly

Public spaces are accessible to everyone, thus when planning urban furniture, designers must take into account the diverse user groups interacting with it: the aged, the disabled and also children. The urban furniture should be safe for all user types. There may be instances where there is a dominant user group, for which it is designed. However, urban furniture should be inclusive and safe for all user groups.

5. Playful and Fun

We tend to think that urban spaces and urban furniture are aimed for adults, and thus should be serious and not fun. When designing urban spaces and furniture it’s easy to forget about little ones in us. Alternative and think out of box designs make objects fun to use!

Learn how to design Urban Furniture during the 3 week workshop organised by architects and design experts in Auroville.

Image source: https://in.pinterest.com/

Hita L

Hita L

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