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Designing Fluid High-Traffic Areas with Modular Furniture

Designing Fluid High-Traffic Areas with Modular Furniture

Placemaking practitioners Green Furniture Concept enrich hectic public spaces with harmony and wellbeing. Their latest modular, sustainable seating system, Ascent, combines nature and geometry – resulting in truly enhanced sitting.

Placemaking is the art of bringing identity and well-being to public spaces. International transport hubs like airports and train stations, for example, are responsible for hundreds of thousands of visitor experiences each day, all moving in different directions at the same time. Without good placemaking design to control and direct the flow of traffic, passengers just get in each other’s way, and the space becomes an echoing cacophony of aggravation.

A busy public space is one of contrasting forces. It needs to be large and open to cater for all its visitors’ needs, but also provide a peaceful sense of belonging and confidence; each seat needs to feel like an individual private space, while remaining securely visible; and it often needs to present specific directional information, but still be simple and quick to navigate, in any language. Combining all of these factors is the role of placemaking design.

With the freedom to create seating in any shape, direction and pattern, Ascent subconsciously guides and directs passing travellers through a calming environment. Perfect for busy transport hubs like airports. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
With the freedom to create seating in any shape, direction and pattern, Ascent subconsciously guides and directs passing travellers through a calming environment. Perfect for busy transport hubs like airports. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Ascent’s three-dimensional slats rise and fall, and curve and straighten, with an artistic randomness rarely seen outside nature. Like a snake hypnotising its prey, these seamless and sinuous lines offer a mesmerising encounter. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Ascent’s three-dimensional slats rise and fall, and curve and straighten, with an artistic randomness rarely seen outside nature. Like a snake hypnotising its prey, these seamless and sinuous lines offer a mesmerising encounter. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Ascent’s three-dimensional slats rise and fall, and curve and straighten, with an artistic randomness rarely seen outside nature. Like a snake hypnotising its prey, these seamless and sinuous lines offer a mesmerising encounter. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Ascent’s three-dimensional slats rise and fall, and curve and straighten, with an artistic randomness rarely seen outside nature. Like a snake hypnotising its prey, these seamless and sinuous lines offer a mesmerising encounter. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept

‘Furniture is a vital aspect of placemaking and can help to elevate a “space” into a “place”. It can create architectural impact while being attuned to the individual story of the place it’s set within.’ says Adele Kamel, Head of Global Marketing at placemaking furniture manufacturer, Green Furniture Concept.

The straight-talking Swedish brand creates spaces with a cultural and community focus, inspiring connections via seating, gathering and meeting points. ‘The public space has changed drastically in design and technology, but somehow the furniture still looks the same as it did in the 50s – straight rows of seating with no added value other than a place to sit. We wanted to challenge that and create something playful and functional and that invites the user to interact,’ says Green Furniture Concept’s Head of Design, Jonas Ekholst, of the brand’s latest modular seating range, Ascent.

Find out more about Green Furniture Concept

Ascent’s line of accompanying accessories includes armrests for weary arms, tables for drinks and digitals and subtly incorporated charging points, all improving the prospect of longer-than-expected waits. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Ascent’s line of accompanying accessories includes armrests for weary arms, tables for drinks and digitals and subtly incorporated charging points, all improving the prospect of longer-than-expected waits. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Ascent’s line of accompanying accessories includes armrests for weary arms, tables for drinks and digitals and subtly incorporated charging points, all improving the prospect of longer-than-expected waits. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Ascent’s line of accompanying accessories includes armrests for weary arms, tables for drinks and digitals and subtly incorporated charging points, all improving the prospect of longer-than-expected waits. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept

Seating for public spaces can be defined by a handful of features: double-backed, single-backed or bench, with an occasional curved option, sometimes thrown in. Ascent manages to provide all of these at the same time. It blends straight and curved sections without pause and flows from bench to backed and back to bench again, with separate modules connecting together seamlessly. Everything about Ascent seems made to flow, with its sinuous contours and undulations bringing to mind some sort of möbius bench.

In the Ascent range, ‘We have designed a toolbox for architects and designers to play with, and we’re so excited to see what they can create.’ says Green Furniture Concept CEO, Jonathan Nilsson

One might first think that Ascent was born from a world of geometry and mathematics, but its similarities with nature and wildlife arrive not far behind. A single curved crescent Ascent, for example, resembles a coastal bay, enveloping body and mind with a warm, Nordic embrace; while a longer, winding and bending, dipping and rising form seems from one angle to be a miniature mountain range or a stealthy alligator from another.

Designed for use in environments in constant 24-hour use, Ascent is constructed from individually-placed slats, treated with hard wax oil. Making it simple and efficient to clean and dry, while providing a natural warmth. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Designed for use in environments in constant 24-hour use, Ascent is constructed from individually-placed slats, treated with hard wax oil. Making it simple and efficient to clean and dry, while providing a natural warmth. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Designed for use in environments in constant 24-hour use, Ascent is constructed from individually-placed slats, treated with hard wax oil. Making it simple and efficient to clean and dry, whil. e providing a natural warmth. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
Designed for use in environments in constant 24-hour use, Ascent is constructed from individually-placed slats, treated with hard wax oil. Making it simple and efficient to clean and dry, whil. e providing a natural warmth. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept

Whatever the length or shape of the custom design, it has the appearance of a made-to-order statement piece. But instead of commissioning an artwork, creating a site-specific collection of Ascents is more like picking from a selection box. Architects and designers can combine straights, curves, backs and benches along with armrests, tables and charge points, all integrated into the seating. In accompanying Green Furniture Concept products like Leaf lighting and Radius planters or waste management, they can create an original plan with character and function, communicating with the surrounding space and gently encouraging people to flow along in its current.

With a real tree trunk and wool felt ‘leaves’, the Leaf Tree is itself a perfect accompaniment to the naturally meandering Ascent seating. The ability to colour individual leaves in slightly different shades gives Leaf a certain simplified and stylised character. Both the light and seating bring a calm tranquility to busy public environments, a perfect homage to the beauty and the role of nature in a human world.

The leaf lamp series’ sound-absorbing wool-felt foliage improves soundscapes and verbal comprehension in shared workspaces and busy communal environments . Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
The leaf lamp series’ sound-absorbing wool-felt foliage improves soundscapes and verbal comprehension in shared workspaces and busy communal environments . Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
The leaf lamp series’ sound-absorbing wool-felt foliage improves soundscapes and verbal comprehension in shared workspaces and busy communal environments. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept
The leaf lamp series’ sound-absorbing wool-felt foliage improves soundscapes and verbal comprehension in shared workspaces and busy communal environments. Image Courtesy of Green Furniture Concept

In the Ascent range, ‘We have designed a toolbox for architects and designers to play with, and we’re so excited to see what they can create.’ says Green Furniture Concept CEO, Jonathan Nilsson.

With so many variations of furniture, lighting and accessories, along with sales staff experienced in the art of placemaking and a 3D online visualisation, planning and AR tool at their disposal, Green Furniture Concept is like a real-life Scalextric set, and it’s Christmas for designers.

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Cite: "Designing Fluid High-Traffic Areas with Modular Furniture" 12 Feb 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/956771/designing-fluid-high-traffic-areas-with-modular-furniture> ISSN 0719-8884

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