Street Furniture

            The architect explained that urban furniture was an industrial product manufactured specifically for the public. He continued to clarify that before making any street furniture architects determined the user, the time of using the facility and the reasons for using the facility. After this careful analysis, there is a concept design, followed by detail design and finally implementation of the design. He further provided information that during analysis, architects considered such factors like the peoples’ culture and the natural features in the immediate environment.

When putting up benches they consider natural effects like wind, rain and noise. They also go further to consider safety, integrity, accessibility, ergonomics, comfort and durability. He insisted that their aim was not only to provide physical support but also psychological support. He said that they used four measures of distance, which are intimate distance – for embracing, touching, or whispering; personal distance- for interactions among good friends; social distance -for interaction among acquaintances; and public distance – for impersonal observation.

To protect urban furniture against vandalism, he said that they considered appropriateness, material, care, scale, connection details and location plan when locating the street furniture. They also insisted on producing them as specified in the design criteria, which emphasized on harmony with space, functionality, aesthetic values and identity. It was noted that though the furniture was for public use, the public was not consulted on the designs. This is because the analysis that the architects had done on the culture and the surroundings would enable them to come up with something that would be acceptable to most of the people. He pointed out that the safety of the urban furniture mattered a lot; therefore, they made sure they knew the height, weight and texture of every surface.

The other thing that the architects considered was the functionality of street furniture. He said that street furniture connected people with the landscape and made people want to experience freedom. It was therefore important to make sure that the street furniture met this need. He affirmed that the location and design of a seat, for example, should in line with its purpose. The street furniture should also evoke the right emotion. For example, a bench and a dustbin cannot evoke the same feeling since a bench should welcome its potential individual seeking rest. The design should bring out the functionality of the furniture, whether it is meant for resting, gathering, socializing, eating or drinking. Materials used should be the best for the intended purpose.

Besides a city’s architecture, its street furniture can give it identity. He pointed out that unity and identity went together since using meanings of a place to create furniture would not only give identity but also unity with the place. The relationship between different street furniture, the relationship between the furniture and the surroundings and with time should be considered in the design. There is also a need not to exaggerate design, which would otherwise, emphasize on individual identity and fail to blend with the environment.

Color could be used to break monotony and create unity with the surroundings. One should be very careful when choosing colors since some could create an undesirable contrast. Some cities prefer to be identified with one color, therefore influencing the color of all their street furniture. In such a case, caution should be applied otherwise there would be monotony. The proximity of the street furniture could also determine the colors to be used. In the case of using one color, the furniture should be distinct from each other. Using any colors could still be complicated but when blending colors are used, there is harmony. When choosing colors, it is also essential to consider the color of the buildings in the surrounding. He concluded by stressing the need to have all the above things in mind while designing a street furniture.

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