As cities grow and urban spaces become more densely populated, the need for innovative and efficient urban design solutions becomes increasingly important. Public spaces, streetscapes, and outdoor parks serve as communal gathering points, fostering a sense of community, promoting social interaction, and enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.
Landscape architects and specifiers working on the design of these shared outdoor spaces may consider utilising precast concrete, given the excellent performance and durability of the material in the outdoor environment. Using modular design as opposed to full custom solutions for outdoor concrete seating can drive certain efficiencies in these streetscape and public applications.
Modular precast seating is an economically efficient choice for urban designers, thanks to the cost savings gained from the reduced initial investment in moulding.
Depending on the complexity of the mould, steel moulds for furniture items can range in price from $5-10,000. However, they can be reused 100+ times, which builds a compelling case for having fewer moulds. With just one or two moulds, hundreds of seating units can be produced, creating large expanses of seating.
Lead Time Savings
SVC’s typical lead time on steel mould production for outdoor furniture is approximately six weeks for 1-6 moulds. If more moulds are required, the lead time is extended accordingly. Once the steel moulds are ready for production, precast units can be turned around relatively quickly with each mould capable of producing one unit per day.
Utilising modular design also allows considerable time savings during the design phase of a landscape project – a simpler design consisting of homogeneous repeating modules can be completed with drawings produced in a shorter timeframe than a design involving multiple unique modules.
For designers or developers who are time-poor, SVC also offers a catalogue range of pre-designed precast concrete furniture, some of which are available in modular suites. These designs are made to order with existing moulds ready to be filled, saving time otherwise spent on design and mould production.
The concept of modular design may be perceived as having a design outcome that is overly simplistic. This may be true in certain cases if the furniture modules assume simple shapes such as rectangular blocks, corner pieces or curved modules. Simplicity in outdoor furniture is not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows other aspects of the landscape – such as greenery, water features or sculptural elements – to take centre stage.
On the other hand, a high level of design complexity is still achievable with a modular furniture suite, as the individual modules can be customised in terms of colour, aggregate mix or even special design treatments such as stencilling or imprinting of letters or graphics.
Individual modules may also be complex in terms of form, having irregular or asymmetrical shapes. Oddly shaped modules can convey a sense of uniqueness and design complexity, even if the same module is simply rotated or positioned at different angles.
Another benefit of designing streetscapes and public spaces with modular concrete furniture is the ability to repeat the same modular design on a later stage of the project, or even on a different project altogether.
The steel moulds used to create modular concrete furniture can be reused multiple times and are extremely durable, lasting for several years. Reusing an existing modular design also means that project lead times will be significantly reduced, as there is no time required for furniture design or mould production.
Urban designers can use modular furniture suites to develop a unique design style that creates a subtle connection between their landscape projects, giving them ownership of their own unique furniture suite that can be deployed across various applications.
As our cities continue to evolve and expand, the design of furniture and seating within streetscape and public design becomes increasingly important to make our spaces habitable, interactive and engaging.
Modular concrete seating in public outdoor applications offers a multitude of benefits that ultimately provide convenience and ease to designers and urban planners, enabling faster, efficient creation of functional, inviting urban environments that the public can use and enjoy.