City benches redesigned for COVID-19 times

16/03/2021 | 1 min

Four UWA Master of Architecture students have placed second in an international design competition with their model for COVID-safe outdoor seating.

The competition, Reconnect: Reimagining Furniture for Public Spaces, asked university students to design street furniture for public spaces in the context of the pandemic.

Nurul Hud Azman, Lyana Ibrahim O Mahat, Thanh Thao Pham and David Morgan Carr’s ‘Ribbons of Growth’ design is intended to support increased physical distancing and meet the varying needs of individuals.

Urban furniture design

Image: The 'Ribbons of Growth' design encourages physical distancing between bench users.

Dr Rosangela Tenorio, who supervised the students, is co-founder of the Bio-Based Materials Design Lab at UWA. She says the students’ design reflects the concepts of re-growth and circular design.

“In Western Australia, bushfires are a common occurrence and part of the cycle of re-growth for natural flora,” she said.

“This design reflects nature’s continuity through the metaphor of a continuous ribbon. Additionally, the charred wood material references re-growth after a bushfire, as do the principles of circular design.”

Dr Rosangela Tenorio

Co-supervisor Dr Jairo da Costa Junior said the design catered to a wide range of users.

“The furniture includes different modules to cater to adults, children, wheelchair users and prams,” he said. “As well as this, the seating’s hexagonal grid arrangement keeps people two metres apart, which is important during COVID-19 times.”

Dr Tenorio welcomes interest from organisations wanting to help prototype and implement the design.

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