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Outdoor Public Seating – Benches or Seats?

Outdoor Furniture: Modern Outdoor Benches

Every Outdoor public Seating has a story to tell, whether it is while sitting and waiting for a ride to work or while taking a break from running in the park, the benches in the public spaces are the silent catalyst to many memorable stories. Seats in the public spaces are much more than just a convenience; they have become a place for social activity. Typically, we would find seats or benches at public amenities like bus stops, waiting areas, or retail corridors, but this is changing. Public seating ideas are now exploring outdoor seating options, which creates a space that fosters healthy outdoor activities.

When designing a new outdoor public seating area, it is important to select the right outdoor Furniture, which defines the utility of that space. The outdoor furniture falls into two categories, seats and benches. Apparently, the decision of choosing a seat or a bench for the location is not as simple, as it seems. A Chair and a bench may serve a common purpose but each has its own unique characteristics that make it different from the other. To begin with, one must have absolute clarity on the usage of the space and the user.

What Is the Advantage of Using Outdoor Public Seating?A bench is a long seat that can accommodate multiple people at a time and is often spotted at bus stops, parks or tourist places. Seats are chairs, which are for singular occupancy. They are preferred when the user needs the personal space and the flexibility to rearrange as per convenience when seated in a group. They are mostly movable thus, allows flexibility in sitting arrangements to accommodate a varied number of guests. The seats can be moved far or near for a better view or conversation. Mostly used in social gatherings or outdoor public seating such as cafés where the users can enjoy their company along with a personal space. A bench is also used for gatherings, picnics and meals depending on their need and location.

To choose an appropriate outdoor public seating there are many factors which should be taken into consideration. To help with the decision, we have listed some of the important factors that must be considered before choosing a seat or a bench for a public space.

1. Location 

How would a place advocate the type of furniture?

Citystyle Wave SeatThe location of the public space will have an important bearing on the furniture. Depending on the location, one can gauge the volume of traffic and the extent of public seating required. Locations such as public transit, walkways, and market corridors, would need heavy-duty seating that can survive the rigorous beating. Seating facilities at such locations will be frequently used by many people but for a short duration, so benches would be more appropriate in such cases to fulfill the purpose. Benches can accommodate multiple people at the same time. Floor mounted benches can be used in such scenario to accommodate a large number of users; this may help to serve the purpose adequately during heavy traffic.

Movable chairs and seats are an apt choice for a café or a public gathering that lets you arrange the sitting as per the requirement. Chairs at parks provide the flexibility to sit in the sun or shade. Additionally, usage of seats in public places helps in group conversation as they can be arranged as per the choice.  Benches, on the contrary, are generally lined up in a row, which makes it difficult for a group to have a conversation. It is advisable to explore the all-available options of varied park and street furniture that suits the specific location.

2. Use, Users, and Customers

“What should be the right type of bench or seat for a user? Should the seats be plank style or does it need a backrest?

“What are the different type of users that should be taken into consideration?”

Yes, knowing about the user will help in knowing the answer to these questions. Children, adults, and elderly users have different necessities that requires consideration while selecting seats for public spaces. Due consideration should be given to user’s comfort and difficulties. An elderly user would have difficulty in stepping up or down due to various age-related alignments so the seats should be of an appropriate height and comfortable so that it’s easy for them to use, rest and enjoy the surroundings. Largely, such users will occupy the seat for a longer time, so a seat with an armrest and backrest would be ideal to provide that comfort in comparison to simple flat planks that can get uncomfortable to sit on for a longer duration. On the contrary, a boulevard bench, which is a curved heavy-duty plank, will be apt for users who are commuters. An adult would use the public seating for a short time like waiting for its ride or use it to rest after a run. For such use, an open-sided bench will give quick access to a short rest or wait.

Aluminium Crafted Luna BenchesIf the outdoor public seating is used by a mix of users then it is essential that the plan should incorporate the needs of all type of users. People who use walkers would need to keep the walker closer to the seat so that they have an easy access to it while getting up. Similarly, special consideration should be made for physically challenged and people of various weights and sizes.

“I have a business and looking for comfortable seating solution for my customers so that they have a favourable impression of my services. “

Durability and appearance are essential however to create a favourable impression one should go an extra mile by having some user-friendly features to provide comfort. The comfort will translate into a positive image for the business. Depending on the business one can acquire seats with additional user-friendly features such as drink holder, end tables for convenience to hold a beverage or accessories, higher backrest or comfortably reclined chairs that give full lumbar support and comfort.

3. Safety and Security

“The location is prone to vandalism and defacement of properties, what should I choose that can withstand all this?”

While it is important to have public seating at locations where it is needed, however, unfortunately, benches and chairs in many isolated public locations are subject to vandalism, theft and other abuse. We have often seen that benches in isolated locations become a place to sleep. While there is no vandalism resistant furniture available, however, one can choose a tough furniture that is an amalgamation of strong material with advanced designs that makes it easier to maintain and repair. Use of exemplary materials like aluminium and others, which provides a smooth finish that is easy to clean spots and even graffiti. In addition, isolated locations should pick a fixed floor or wall mounted seats to avoid thefts.

The seat that is subjected to vandalism or wears and tear over time makes it susceptible to causing injury to the user. A loose nut and bolt or a damaged leg can make the seat unstable to use therefore regular maintenance is required to assure safety. Many suppliers offer a maintenance program to help secure and extend the product life.

4. Maintenance of Outdoor Public Seating

“How much maintenance is required after they are installed?”

It is essential to keep the maintenance aspect in mind while selecting a design for public seating. Ideally, a good design should be effortless to clean. If it is cushioned furniture then it should require minimalistic effort to replace or clean. For park and street furniture prefer a smooth design that allows spills to run off on its own. Look for a manufacturer who has seamless designs that do not allow dust to stuck in the gaps and the creases of the backrest.

Transit SeatApart from the maintenance of the seat, due consideration should be given to ease of cleaning of the surrounding area. The outdoor public seating should undergo regular cleaning of its surrounding. There are certain public places that have restricted space and a much-needed seat or bench makes it difficult to sweep under and behind the sitting area, which over time starts to accumulate dirt and garbage. Such a case can be tackled by choosing a design with minimal floor contacts. Wall mounted, freestanding leg mounts, core in-ground designs etc are the different types of furniture available that have fewer or no legs that make it easier to clean the area under and behind the seats.

5. Durability

“What do I do to increase the durability of the furniture? How do I know the park and street furniture will withstand the rigorous use?”

Certainly, a good quality material would assure durability, however, usage and weather condition do have a bearing on the life of the furniture. Yes, weather condition is one of the factors in reducing the life of the seat over time, therefore, it is important to choose appropriate material for the furniture which is conducive to the environment of the location. A public seating made of iron will erode over a period if situated near a water body such as a lake, ocean or in a moist environment (humidity/rainy region) however a street furniture made of steel or aluminium will last long.

While deciding a furniture for an outdoor space that will be used for leisure and recreational activity should keep in mind the rigorous use by a large number of people. Once decided on seat or bench for the space one must pay attention to the choice of material. A wide variety of park and street furniture available in different materials ranging from steel, aluminium to concrete, organic woods. Additional measures can be taken like painting, galvanising, anodising that will protect from rust, corrosion, and vandalism. There are seats that are made with the fusion of two or more material to make it fire and termite resistant.

It is essential that a bench or seat should blend with its surroundings. They should be an extension of the property. Each design and material has its own unique feature, therefore, do not limit yourself to a single choice explore the wide variety of contemporary furniture listed in ProjectLink.com.au

The post Outdoor Public Seating – Benches or Seats? appeared first on ProjectLink.

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Outdoor Public Seating – Benches or Seats?

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