“In a manner, the bench is the apotheosis of urban life, the city’s most democratic place and a forum from which to watch life happen. In a commercialised public arena in which we have become recognised as consumers and customers rather than citizens, the bench remains an unalloyed public good.”
Edwin Heathcote, FT
This excellent essay by FT architecture critic, Edwin Heathcote looks at the role of street furniture – public seating, streetlights, newsstands and post boxes – in a fast-changing urban landscape. Populating the city’s liminal spaces like familiar friends, I always loved the newspaper dispensers in New York (do they still exist?) and the green metal chairs in Paris’s Jardin des Tuileries.
Like silent supporting actors in oh-so-many classic movies, they’re not just essential street kit for locals, they also serve as perfect photo props for tourists. Here’s a favourite photo of James Lee Byars’ The Golden Sphere surrounded by the essential green chairs (top), and my mum and sister taking a break from being quick-marched through the Tuileries on mum’s 80th (below).
And good to spot these new chairs in The Strand on Alyson’s IG…
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: James Lee Byars’ The Golden Sphere; the Jardin des Tuileries
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here
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