Managing Tables and Chairs in the Public Realm

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Tables and chairs in NYC

Local coffee shops vying to be the neighborhood’s “third place” understand the importance of providing tables and chairs for their customers. They understand while some people may want to lounge in sofas that per square foot, tables and chairs are a far more useful and appealing option to a wider array of customers. Those wanting to attract more people to visit and linger within public space are faced with the same choices.

Choice is is the keyword. It is one of the most critical components to successful public space. While site furniture options like benches and seat walls are inflexible and less useful than tables and chairs. While they do provide seating, they offer significantly  less options for users when they are the dominant seating choice. Their arrangement represents how the designer anticipated the users needs and how they may use the furniture. There is little if any room for these decision to be easily and cost-effectively changed in the future. Too often this inflexibility, diminishes a place’s potential and misses a large segment of users whose needs are not met.  Continue reading

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Why Limit Your Options? : Fixed Seating vs Movable Furniture

The track system demonstrated by the CHAIR>bench project has proven to offer a wide range of configurations. Since its debut, we have been pushing forward to bringing the track system (patent pending) to market. Through the development of the first steel prototype (final product will be in stainless steel), the system has confirmed it is a competitive alternative to high quality fixed site furniture options. Designers will soon have a choice between fixed and securable movable site furniture. Since the track opens up a wide array of possibilities, they will no longer be limited to one arrangement.  Note: We are looking for pilot projects for installing the system. If you have a project where you would like to use it, please contact us.

The following diagrams exhibit these possibilities using a “T” track configuration in comparison to a conventional bench arrangement along a streetscape. In addition, it shows how combining the “T” track can be used to create even more complex combinations within larger spaces. Continue reading

Transformational Seating

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Example of Movable Tables and Chairs (Bryant Park, NYC) © 2013 sitephocus.com

GOOD recently posted a brief story that captured the power of movable seating. The piece served as reminder of why movable seating is so important to successful public spaces. The focus of the article  was about a new initiative called “The Building Hero Project” by public workshop in Philadelphia. The initiative is a program that enables young adults to improve their neighborhoods through design by starting a micro-business to manufacture and sell a designed product. If that isn’t cool enough, the product is intended to be one that can improve local public spaces, schools, or neighborhoods.  Continue reading

A More Agile Streetscape

The following plan and rendering illustrate the use of the permanent stainless steel track embodiment of the track and sled technology (patent pending) to create an agile streetscape that replaces the traditional fixed bench with movable chairs. In addition, tables (not shown) can be mounted to the system to add even more choice for the users. The plan shows how the system can not only provide infrastructure for movable site furniture but also direct water to the bioretention areas along the green street.  Continue reading

CHAIRS > bench in the Public for the First Time

CHAIRS>bench made it out in public for the first time last night when a group of friends and I took it up to the Trolley Barns in Nashville to conduct a photo shoot. The above gallery includes a few sample images captured. We put it through its paces. A big thanks to Kira Appelhans, Tipton Fowlkes, Will Marth, Nathan Oliver and Pat Stout for coming out.