Posts Tagged ‘Street furniture’

Producing street furniture in fibre-reinforced cement


IOTA’s Boulevard range of planters and street furniture is manufactured in Switzerland from a proprietary, patent-protected form of Fibre Reinforced Cement (FRC).

FRC is a consolidated blend of cement, limestone, water, cellulose fibres, polyvinyl polymers and other inclusions; and the resulting composite is frostproof, UV-stable and highly impact resistant, and possesses an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio.

The video below summarises the production process of IOTA’s Boulevard range of FRC street furniture.

Clicking the image below will take you to a photostory that illustrates the production process in more detail, with further useful links to IOTA’s product range.

IOTA FRC production


Designing town centres for walking and belonging


GUEST POST: Agata Szacilowska, Landscape Architect with the Greenspace Development Environmental Services team at North Lanarkshire Council (NLC), describes the design and regeneration of Motherwell’s historic town centre.

In Motherwell Town Centre, NLC aimed to improve the quality, function and appearance of the streets and public areas.

The design was developed through internal and external consultation, and was presented for comments during public displays, on hand delivered leaflets and on the council’s website.

The resulting project involved realigning and resurfacing footways and roads, and installing new street furniture, lighting, street trees and public art.

But its overarching themes were sensitivity to the town’s historic buildings and the movement of people around the public space. (more…)

“Designing out crime”, street furniture and soft landscaping


Urban designers have the tricky task of balancing security with civic life. Creative product design can help. In the right hands, innovative products make public spaces safer by weighting them against antisocial behaviour and more serious crime. And they can do so without creating bristling, draconian, fortress towns.

Security versus liberty

In the process of reconciling urban planning theory with urban planning practice, “events” have a knack of interfering – a point made in our post looking at this summer’s riots in the UK.

Similarly, Vancouver’s Director of City Planning, Brett Toderian, recently explained how the events of 9/11 led at the time to a familiar urban planning dilemma, writ large:


Innovation in street furniture


For older people


After the rain

1. For older people
Butters Innovation has worked closely with Jarrow based company Miko Engineering to launch a new range of outdoor seating designed with the ageing population in mind at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health.

The newly designed seats help the elderly overcome problems faced when seating is too low, uncomfortable or difficult to use when walking with sticks or other aids.

2. After the rain
Turn the handle on the side of the bench and the seat will rotate to expose the dry side of the seat, and you will be able to sit down without getting wet. Designed by Sungwoo Park.


Back to the future


Out of the pavement

3. Back to the future
The WALL AG timescope lets the viewer gaze through a telescope that shows the past as well as the future. Viewers see the scene before them in different decades and states. The boundaries that separate the present, past, and future are dissolved. With timescope, history becomes alive and the future is just the blink of an eye away.

4. Out of the pavement
POP-UP is a result of a collaboration of Carmela Bogman and Rogier Martens. It can be pumped out of the pavement by local residents, and after use it can be lowered back into the pavement.

By using several sheets that can be fixed at any height, the choice is up to you whether you want to create a bench, a stage or a lounge area. The possibilities are endless. The Pop-Up blurs the boundaries between public and private.

Renewable energy sources and street furniture, part 2

Santorini wind / solar hybrid street lamp

Santorini wind / solar hybrid street lamp

Having looked previously at solar power and street furniture I thought it might be interesting to explore other renewables and street furniture.

Urban Green Energy produces the Santorini wind / solar hybrid street lamp which combines a 600W wind turbine and 80W solar panels to ensure continuous street light. There is no need to connect the lamp to the mains, although more powerful models can and the excess energy sold onto the gird.

Ningbo Sunflower Solar Technology Co is one of various Chinese manufacturers with similar systems in production.

Haneum Lee has designed the Gaon street light which is powered by food waste. Designed for busy pedestrian environments, people bin their waste in the compartment at the base of the lighting column. The composting process generates methane which is used to power the lights.

There’s also the Energy Seed, an LED bollard powered by discarded alkaline batteries. ‘The unit combines any left over juice from all the batteries to power a super efficient LED ring.’

Energy Seed

Energy Seed

APT Controls’ solar and wind powered rising arm barrier avoids the cost and disruption associated with providing a mains supply. APT links it in with the UK’s government desire that all schools are sustainable by 2020.

Finally Westotec offers solar and / or wind powered, vehicle activated, road safety signage. Again, the key selling point is avoiding the cost and disruption of a mains connection.

ESI references:

Solar power and street furniture

Zava solar-powered street lighting

Zava solar-powered street lighting

As we’re getting used to solar-powered bus stops in the UK, the next generation of solar-powered public furniture is being designed.

Vekso’s Nanok is a litter bin with a solar powered compactor which compresses rubbish, minimising its volume by around 80%. This, in turn, reduces the costs and carbon dioxide associated with emptying the bin.

Zava’s PV.LED solar-powered street lighting really combines external illumination with creative design and a pleasing aesthetic.

Solion’s Solard is a solar bollard that ‘gives off enough light from LEDs to enable drivers to see the bollards and act as a pathway marker for pedestrians.’ No wiring is required from grid sources, eliminating the need to dig up roads.

Clever Bins’ litter bins use a solar-powered daylight-charging system to illuminate static and dynamic on-bin advertising panels.

Greenbarnes’ solar-powered noticeboards use motion sensors and a timing mechanism to ensure that lighting is active only when people are in close proximity, hence maximising battery life.

And Nikola Knezevic has designed a suite of futuristic solar-powered street furniture – news stands / street lamps / ATMs – which shares its energy between linked modules to maximise efficiency and ensure the lights don’t go out anywhere.

ESI references:

What makes a street a successful public space?

Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Buchanan Street - Glasgow - dalbera on Flickr

Project for Public Spaces is an American ‘nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build communities.’

They’ve an interesting piece entitled ‘9 Great Streets Around the World’ that explores what it is that makes some streets successful, multifunctional public spaces that people can both use and enjoy.

Camden High Road in London is noted for its success as a commercial street, and Buchanan Street in Glasgow as a pedestrian street.

There are other examples from North America, mainland Europe and Australia.

ESI references:

Avoiding common mistakes in the design of streetscapes and public areas


Getting it right is important

The London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames’s Public Space Design Guide’ gives an interesting summary of good practice in the field. It provides clear, concise guidance on a number of areas including paving, signage, lighting and green areas.

Consider for example the main considerations for public furniture.

1. Choose street furniture to relate to its location and local distinctiveness, and reinforce a sense of place
2. Different items of street furniture should relate to each other in terms of design, siting and colour
3. Avoid causing clutter
4. Reduce to a minimum ‘defensive’ street furniture such as railings and bollards
5. Retain and refurbish distinctive historic elements of street furniture, such as telephone boxes and milestones.

Simple and obvious.

Here’s to every scheme that achieves these.

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The secret history of bollards

Furnitubes CAN 500 Cannon cast iron bollard

Furnitubes CAN 500 Cannon cast iron bollard

Inspired by a local meeting of the National Trust, the Whitby Gazette ‘Society Spot’ looks at the origins of traditional street furniture designs in recycled masonry and re-purposed 18th century cannon barrels.

ESI references:

Social cycle commuting


European Mobility week is happening in Edinburgh on 16th – 22nd September. Following in London’s footsteps, the city is trying Bike Friday – an organised social commute ride, starting from several designated points. It’s all part of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Moving Forward strategy, part of which aims to reduce car traffic by 30% by 2010.

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