Indoor public seating spaces in shopping malls, airports, office buildings, hospitality, health and education precincts can take a beating.
They need to not only stand up to large amounts of people coming and going but to the wear and tear that high traffic brings.
So what makes for good indoor public seating spaces?
Spaces that have good visual cues to find where the seating is, those which allow freedom of movement around the seating, and those with plenty of aesthetic appeal to name just a few.
And what makes those indoor public seating spaces work well?
1. Choice and Variety:
A good public space allows users a choice about where and how they would like to sit which means that various types of seating options should be made available.
Purpose-built ottomans, ledges, bench seating, banquettes, tiered or beam seating, moveable chairs – all these types need to be considered.
2. Location of Seating:
The location of this varied seating should be given careful thought.
Keep plenty of seating areas, for instance, close to activity.
Where there’s a heavily trafficked thoroughfare, consider placing seating zones strategically to break up or divert crowds to follow a pathway, yet remain easily accessible.
Mix up group seating with smaller amounts of individual seating.
Keep “social comfort” in mind by giving people an opportunity to choose between busy or quieter areas according to their needs and likes.
3. Consider the Purpose of Seating:
What are people doing? Taking a rest, people-watching, using social media, working?
Places where any of these activities occur demand different seating requirements.
For instance, circular seating with no back is an ideal design for people-watching from all directions, but lineal seating with a back is preferable for those working or taking a rest.
4. Multi-Purpose Surfaces:
Creating surfaces that are usable for multiple purposes is a very useful design tool.
Ottomans, ledges, benches which double as seats as well as tables, provide that duality.
As long as surfaces are robust and practical, a lot is to be gained by customising pieces to have more than one purpose.
One basic premise to remember: Keep Materials Simple.
Paying plenty of attention to detail to upscale appeal and avoid degradation is undoubtedly a great way to go for creating successful public spaces.