Urban spaces are always full of benches or bench seats. The bench has evolved in many ways; it now comes in many different shapes, sizes, with armrests and backrests.
Be it a park, reserve, a retirement village or an urban precinct, no urban environment is complete without seating options. How does one make a decision, what kind of seating to go for?
Of course, a well designed bench or seat can be the go to place in any urban location and be the activity hub. However, the main purpose is to offer convenience and comfort for the person or people using it.
Here we’ll be talking about benches as in plain ones and then seats that have a backrest.
To choose a bench or a seat is very much dependent on the location. If it’s a park, you might want to have a mix of both. If its a sidewalk near a bus stop where people won’t be sitting for long, a bench without a back-rest would be perfect.
Using benches would be perfect for a table setting in a park. A sports ground or a recreation centre could do with a mix of both, placed strategically. A bench would go well with a table setting in a recreation facility, where a person can eat, and also turn around to look at the action.
While a seat with a backrest will surely be more comfortable, concern for comfort can be a deciding factor in choosing a bench or a seat. In a shopping area or a fast-paced urban precinct, where people stop briefly with bags, comfort is not as important as it will be for a park where someone would spend an entire afternoon.
An area where kids will be around or teenagers would sit; a bench would be a good choice. However, a reserve or a park where adults and elderly will also be present, a mix of benches and seats is advisable for more comfort.
Benches would certainly be more convenient in any location as people can not only sit on either side, but they can also turn around. A seat placed in an area that is not facing the zone where the action is taking place, might become inconvenient. Whereas, a bench placed there, might give easy access to people to see a Footy game or a soccer match.
A big factor in choosing and designing seating options is the appearance of the said bench or seat. Fitting in with the surroundings is vital in any urban setting. A bench is sometimes seen as an extension of the property it sits adjacent to, giving it a complete design feel. Modern, edgy design project might call for a bench, where people can sit on both sides.
Both benches and seats should ideally be made of durable material that is vandalism, rusting, graffiti and weather proof. In some cases, however, a seat may need more maintenance in terms of polishing, cleaning or replacement of slats. A bench would be easy to maintain as compared to a seat, which will have more surface area to clean.
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