07 May A Comprehensive Guide: Street Furniture
What is street furniture?
Street furniture refers to all of the benches, post boxes, phone boxes, light boxes, traffic lights, street lamps, traffic signs, outdoor sculptures, and waste bins that are seen on the street. This furniture is used to provide comfort, beauty, navigation, and safety to all residents in a particular city.
A brief history of street furniture
Furniture on the street has been in use for hundreds of years, and the history and culture of a specific area can read through the various items that are placed outside.
Water troughs where one of the first utilitarian items that were placed on the street. These troughs were used to provide water for horses that were used as a means of transportation. Benches, street lights, and street signs were soon to follow. Benches were placed in areas where travellers waited for railways, and traditional gas street lights were used to lights up the streets to make them safe and illuminated during the evening.
Basic street signs allowed individuals to navigate their cities so they could easily get from one area to the next. Trash bins, post boxes and telephone booths showed up over time as technology and cultures advanced. Outdoor trash bins kept streets and outdoor areas clean, and post boxes and telephone booths added convenience to individuals as they walked down the streets.
Street furniture today
Technology, culture, and the needs of city residents have changed greatly over time, and this can be seen through the advances in furniture items placed on the streets. High-quality electric street lights have replaced the old Victorian lights, and LED signs can be seen around the city that displays important news information and daily weather.
Reflective street signs and traffic lights have replaced the old fashioned basic metal signs, and trash bins and post boxes have been updated to accommodate the incredibly large influx in city residents that live in one area. Sculptures that feature modern themes and artistic styles can be seen all around the UK, and these art pieces speak about the changes in the world and the incredible cultural advancements.
Benefits of street furniture
Street furniture is all too often ignored by the people who use it and benefit from it every day. But the truth is that it performs a variety of functions which are all incredibly useful and provide a number of benefits to people who live and work in the area.
Some street furniture has the sole purpose of providing extra comfort to people who are out and about in an area so that they can better enjoy their surroundings.
Take benches for example. A comfortable bench at the side of the road or in a park is just what is needed to take the pressure off weary feet and allow you to enjoy your surroundings even more.
Performs a function
The best street furniture is designed to fulfil a specific function. There are public shelters at bus stops and in the street which are used to help people stay dry or to get a break from the sun. Then there are cycle shelters which make it easier for people to ride to work and stay fit and healthy knowing that their bike is going to be safe when they are not with it.
The very best street furniture has an aesthetic as well as practical properties. Some companies specialise in designing bespoke items of furniture which often become a stylistic feature of the area as well as being very useful.
Increase pride in the area
When an area has items of street furniture which make it more comfortable and attractive for the people who live and work there, it increases pride. People who are happy in their area tend to look after it more and use public spaces because they simply find it more enjoyable.
Attract more people
Useful and attractive street furniture can help to attract more people to a public area. For example, people may be avoiding spending time in the park because they know that there is nowhere to sit down and relax. By making sure you erect stylish street furniture, you can also attract more tourists to an area, who might otherwise give it a miss.
Some public areas can become crime hotspots if they are not looked after properly. By investing in public spaces and encouraging more people to use them, you can help to make them less attractive for vandals and criminals by encouraging more people to enjoy the areas.
What are the qualities of the best street furniture?
Good quality street furniture is a sound investment wherever it is installed. Whether you are looking for benches, bins, picnic tables or tree grills, there are a few qualities that you will always want your street furniture to contain.
Strong & Robust
Good street furniture is built to last. That means the material that it is constructed from has to be high quality and durable. Some of the best street furniture you can buy is made out of fabricated steel. This is one of the toughest materials around and it will withstand the majority of situations that could cause damage to the furniture over the course of its lifetime.
Additionally, if you buy street furniture that lasts a long time then you will save having to invest in more furniture for many years, making it a cost-effective solution.
There are many settings where you might want to install street furniture. Whether it’s a bench in a public street or a picnic table in a park, you will always want the furniture to blend in with its surroundings.
A company offering bespoke street furniture design will be able to design and manufacture the exact item of street furniture that you are looking for, including employing a variety of colours and finishes to the product.
Weather is one of the biggest threats to the lifespan of street furniture, and you will, therefore, want to ensure that yours is as weatherproof as possible. Street furniture made from steel and hardwoods with a weather-proof finish is the kinds of furniture that you will be looking for if it means they will last a lot longer.
The most important quality of all street furniture is that it is safe to use. This means furniture that has been made with safe and durable materials, as well as furniture that is safely secured to the ground so that it won’t cause any problems in the street.
Types of street furniture
Street furniture at the simplest level, and one we all are familiar with, is the park bench. This need not be in an actual park but can be found in urban areas, especially in pedestrian areas. The idea is simple; it allows weary shoppers and travellers to sit a moment and be relieved of their burden of shopping bags and whatnot.
However, street furniture can be more than just a bench. It can in fact be many things, including:
- ATM machines
- Benches and Seating
- Bicycle Racks
- Bus stops
- Bus shelters
- Community Kiosks
- Litter bins
- News Racks
- Parking meters
- Picnic tables
- Public Toilets
- Sculpture and public art
- Street lights
- Traffic signs
- Traffic items
- Water fountains
How to choose the right street furniture for your area
When it comes to choosing street furniture for a playground or public area, you want to make sure that you are choosing the best possible furniture. But what do you have to consider? Here are some factors which you may want to think about to get the best furniture.
How Does it Match the Surrounding Area?
Are you going to use street furniture in a natural area such as a park or in a more built-up area like a city centre? One of the first things that you should do is to try to match the furniture to its surroundings, which involves choosing the same colours, textures and designs to create something which works together. Try to use street furniture which will add something to the area, not just in a practical way but in an aesthetic way as well.
The longer the street furniture lasts, the less money it will cost you over the years. If you choose recycled street furniture which tends to last a long time then there will be less need to replace it so quickly, and this means it is often the most economical option.
It also means that once you have installed the street furniture, you can literally forget about it in some cases and you need less money to spend on caring for the product. One of the best options is recycled plastic as this is durable and long lasting, and requires no maintenance to keep it in great condition.
Make sure the furniture you use is suitable for the people who will use it. If it is for use by adults in a park, like a bench, then it should be suitable for them. If the street furniture is going to be used by children in a playground then safety is paramount, meaning you will want something which is strong and secure, and free from splinters and cracks. Again, recycled plastic could be a great option in such a situation.
Covered or in the Open?
If the street furniture is to be out in the open, it will have to be waterproof. You should be aware that metal and timber need treatment to make them waterproof, but there are other materials which do not require any treatment, such as recycled plastic, which means it can be used even in the wettest conditions.
Everyone wants to use street furniture which looks good, and it is worth choosing furniture which will add something to the area and make it more appealing to users. Always try to think beyond the practical reasons for installing the furniture and use a material which is versatile and can be used to create the best effect with your street furniture.
What should I look for in a street furniture manufacturer?
We have compiled our top tips when hiring a street furniture manufacturer for your community or private project, so whether you are looking to replace, repair or renovate, you can find the perfect supplier for you.
Concept to completion
Many street furniture suppliers also provide an all-round service, meaning as a client you can enlist consultation, design, manufacturing and installation all under one roof. Manufacturers that provide this ‘concept to completion’ service tend to be the most cost-effective as less money is spend outsourcing particular processes.
The ability to customise your street furniture is also a plus point for many clients looking to create bespoke additions for their public or private project. Personalise your litter bins, cycle sheds and waiting shelters with your company logo or in colours and fonts of your choice to really impress the individuals who use them.
Functionality and durability
It’s not just the look and feel of your furniture that is important, choosing a supplier that can encompass this as well as functionality and durability should be high on your list. Ensure your street furniture outperforms other products by choosing a manufacturer that supplies long-lasting and strong furnishings in a variety of materials. Preview the products that your shortlisted suppliers have created as well as comparing prices, and look for a proven track record within the industry to ensure you make the right choice.
Cost-effective and customer-focused
Whether you are choosing made to measure products or off the shelf items to complete the look of your community, public park or private housing development, choose a cost-effective, all-inclusive and customer-focused service when searching for a street furniture supplier to cater to you, your needs and your budget.
Find the Best Street Furniture
There is a lot to consider when choosing the most appropriate street furniture for your park, playground or public space. Make sure you think about all the above factors and then use them to help you to find furniture that will be practical, attractive and economical. View Miko’s premier street furniture here.