The Street Seats Design Challenge — Design Museum Boston


During his visit with us at this year’s ASLA conference in Phoenix, we challenged David Shaw, the principal at Street & Garden Furniture of Brisbane, to get involved with a design competition in Boston that we had just heard about.

The Design Museum Boston opened the “Street Seats” design challenge to provide (according to the brochure):

an opportunity to improve the livability of a burgeoning urban area while being socially and environmentally conscious. Design Museum Boston invites individuals and groups from around the world to design an iconic bench or ‘street seat’ for the Fort Point Channel in South Boston’s up and coming Innovation District.

A fantastic challenge, we thought.  The emphasis in the challenge was not only the end product, but the design process itself.  Because Street & Garden Furniture has extensive experience with creating furniture for specific spaces, we thought this would be right up their alley.

The Design Museum Boston helpfully provided these design cues of the Fort Point Channel area:

Inspiration for the designers
Inspiration for the designers

The Hub of Fort Point Channel, extending from Boston Harbor to the Summer Street Bridge, is an extension of the harbor, a new gateway to city wide water transportation, providing docking space for transient vessels, and hosting visiting and historic vessels that can negotiate the vertical clearances of the Evelyn Moakley Bridge. Floating walkways lining the Channel provide access to vessels, inviting the public to the water’s edge. The area also hosts the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum as well as the Boston Children’s Museum. An Art Basin between the Congress Street and Summer Street bridges provides an on-the-water area for floating art that can be experienced from land or from the water.

The entry deadline has just past – there were over 70 different entries, according to the contest website. As part of the entry, the designer needs to submit a video and a product sample. Here’s the masterwork by Street & Garden – we think that the Ripple Bench is an inspired design for the contest.

RIPPLE BENCH | Design Museum Boston – Street Seats Design Challenge from Street & Garden Furniture Co. on Vimeo.

The first round of judging occurs at the end of February, with the 6 finalists invited to create full-size benches to be placed on site. We’re hoping to be one of them!

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