“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) (more…)