Choosing the right public bench

Choosing a public bench, whether a street bench or a park bench, can have a big impact on the identity and use of public spaces. In this guide, we will review the key characteristics to help you make the best choice.

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  • How to choose the right public bench

    LAB23 Contemporary Bench

    LAB23 Contemporary Bench

    When choosing a public bench for an urban area or green space, there are a number of key criteria to consider. Keep in mind that choosing the right public bench can help improve the occupancy of a public space, a park or a street as well as discourage anti-social behaviour. Carefully choosing and coordinating with other pieces of urban furniture can also encourage positive interactions in the community.

    Here are the key points to consider:

    • Location
    • Configuration
    • Style and Materials
    • Maintenance
    • Options and Trends
  • What do I need to know about the location of a public bench?

    STAYCONCRETE Contemporary public bench

    STAYCONCRETE Public Bench

    Benches create a place for people to rest and encourage interaction between different people. This is why they add value to public areas such as parks, town centers and tourist areas. It is important to carefully plan the location of the bench so that it improves user experience and reinforces positive behaviors in the space.

    Orientating benches towards places of interest or along pathways, for example, can help users enjoy views, wait for transport or even improve surveillance and safety. Coordinating benches with other furniture such as bins can help reduce littering, while adding lighting can help people feel safer. Consider also whether the bench will need to be fixed to the ground or mobile; common installations include free-standing, bolted and in-ground.

  • What do I need to know about public bench configuration?

    PLUST COLLECTION Original Design Public Bench

    The bench configuration will have a big influence on how the public bench is used, the number of people that can be seated as well as comfort for the users.

    The main points to consider are :

    For public spaces in shopping or tourism areas that are well cared for, it can be advantageous to invest in comfortable and elegant furniture that improves user experience and encourages people to spend more time and improve the local economy. For example, benches with comfortable backrests or integrated sun loungers might make a welcome addition in coastal areas to enjoy sea views. Public benches in transport hubs with integrated touch screens, charging stations or planters can help keep users entertained and connected.

    The shape of the bench can encourage interaction between users. For example, curved benches with integrated tables could encourage group picnics, while a range of heights and seating positions offer people flexibility. Benches can also be designed to discourage long stays, squatting or sleeping. For example, using individual seats only, armrests as dividers, short or curved benches and stand-up lean against designs for short stay waiting areas. Some benches may also have anti-skating devices to avoid endangering other pedestrians or damage to street furniture.

  • What are the available styles and materials for public benches?

    STREETLIFE Wooden Public Bench

    STREETLIFE Wooden Public Bench

    Coordinating the style and material of benches with other street furniture can help create or reinforce the identity of a public space. While ancient city centers may favor more traditional public bench designs, for new urban projects there are a wide variety of playful original and contemporary designs to choose from available in both classic and contemporary materials. Ensure that the material and finish chosen is appropriate for the weather conditions as this can affect user comfort and maintenance.

    Wooden benches are a great choice for traditional or natural design schemes, and are considered quite comfortable. However, they often require more maintenance than other materials, as they might need to be recoated with weather protecting varnishes or sealants.

    Metal benches such as steel and cast iron are often powder coated to increase robustness, weather / corrosion resistance, comfort and also facilitate maintenance. They can also be combined with other seating materials such as wood and plastic to add interest to the design or improve comfort. Aluminum is high strength, lightweight metal that does not rust, so it’s easy to maintain and a good choice for coastal environments.

    Concrete benches are heavy and low maintenance which make them advantageous for permanent, resistant installations. As with metal, concrete structures may be combined with other seating materials such as wood or plastic for softer contemporary designs.

    Plastic benches are available in a wide number of colors and shapes, from seamless organic forms to imitation wooden slats made out of recycled plastics. Often used with metal supporting structures, the advantages of plastic seating include comfort and ease of maintenance.

  • What do I need to know about public bench maintenance?

    The amount of maintenance required for a public bench will depend on a number of criteria, including its location and robustness.  Other factors to consider include the level of pedestrian traffic, the climate and weather conditions, as well as the design and materials chosen. Favor corrosion resistant materials and designs in coastal areas. Consider robust designs with anti-graffiti surfaces for areas that are likely to be vandalized.

  • What are the current public bench options and trends?

    STRAWBERRY ENERGY Smart Public Bench

    STRAWBERRY ENERGY Smart Public Bench

    Town centers, transport hubs and tourist areas are focusing on user experience to improve well being and usability. Innovative new benches are changing how we use and interact. Here are a few new features to look out for:

    • Connected furniture with integrated chargers, lighting or solar panels
    • Benches with integrated planters, tables or bike racks
    • Stand up benches – short stay relief
    • High comfort and organic design benches
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