The town and city streets of the UK are blessed with street furniture of many types, be it timber, steel or concrete, functional or decorative, designed for relaxation or social interaction, something has been created to solve almost any need.
Thanks to the continuing hard work of architects, designers and specifiers across the country in pushing for pieces that fully utilise and enhance our public spaces, it’s now widely accepted that street furniture plays a vital role in creating attractive destinations that are safe and practical for both visitors and residents. Utilising these spaces in a way that encourages social interaction and brings a community together is of growing importance to councils and developers.
Street furniture installations can be more than merely practical or ornamental, instead being part of a larger picture, a tapestry forming part of a town or city’s identity. Creating spaces that visitors can be proud of, with people-oriented layouts, stylish design and quality materials, instils in everyone a sense of pride and ownership of their local spaces, positively affecting their perception of the town or city for many years. In a world where destinations are now brands, where tourism is key to the continuation of many high streets, developing that sense of self, of an identity worth sharing widely, can bring untold benefits.
The urban environment can be demanding on street furniture, but durable hardwood timbers combined with steel & concrete have the longevity and strength needed with the flexibility that still allows for the wildest imaginations!
Modern production techniques combined with age-old craftsmanship means the range of furniture available for these spaces is broader than ever. Woodscape are proud to specialise in bespoke hardwood timber solutions, stretching the limits of the material to the maximum to allow designers visions to come to life. Beyond this, the designer can utilise hand-finishing and attention to fine custom detail, being re-assured that the furniture is cared for throughout its production, so that the public are delivered an accurate reflection of the original vision.
Chester town centre features some timber bollards, where the need for traffic calming is combined with the vision of artist Katayoun Dowlatshahi, the work of Art Fabrications, and some detailed CNC work to incredible effect for the creation of real works of art.
The Trefoil seat in Southampton reflects and enhances the local architecture, particularly the stone carvings in the nearby Church, and has been used and admired for many years by the local community. The engraved stainless steel combines with the hardwood for a wonderful mix of textures that also reflects the strength of the underlying structure.
Birmingham New Street station is already a wonderful location, but the addition of custom designed triangular Strata seats throughout the area added an extra something that moves far past delivering mere practical, usable seating.
Sometimes the sheer scale of street furniture can surprise you! The Rossall Walkway is a stunning elliptical viewing platform, designed to allow access to the local promenade while respecting an area of biological importance and interest, aiding visitors and residents in appreciating the full beauty and rare flora and fauna.
Practicality rules the day at St James Market, London, where the need to utilise the area had to be balanced with the demands of a popular meeting place for food lovers, being home to various festivals and gatherings during the year. This required working with Hyland Edgar Driver over several months to create a sectional planter & seating solution that aligned with the surrounding aesthetic could handle the existing paving that sloped in many directions and be easily relocated when the spaces need to be emptied for gatherings. The visual impact of the finished furniture is remarkable, enhancing an already beautiful area.
One of Woodscape’s most recent installations at Peach Place, Wokingham, is an amazing undulating seat design, where the interface between the timber slats and the concrete ends was key to the final look, requiring large scale production and installation to a high degree of precision. The unique design brings impact and glamour to the location, increasing the vibrant atmosphere that helps bring customers to the surrounding shops and restaurants and then returning to time and again to this inspirational space to soak up the atmosphere.
The above are just a few examples of using street furniture to design the nation, creating a form of public art gallery of the highest standard that can be enjoyed by everyone, but there are thousands of all sizes just waiting to be discovered.
The best street furniture is adapted to the needs of all who experience it, is beautiful and enhances the lives of everyone in a community, so watch the streets around where you live for developments that are happening now and improving your local area, then be sure to enjoy everything they have to offer.