New trends in Urban Furniture


Nowadays we live in a time when every business must have as philosophy "innovate or die" and the 2.4 billion internet users worldwide won't let us lie. This massive exchange of information has caused people to demand more and better products, therefore it is essential to be prepared for a new consumer reality, street furniture field is not exempt from the situation and innovation should be one of the aspects this industry should have as a priority to highlight and meet the needs of people.

The Spanish market knows it and has already introduced important innovative aspects that can be summarized in 3 ideas: "designs adapted to users and environment, ecologically sustainable materials and the incorporation of new technologies". According to the Spanish Association of Urban furniture and Playgrounds (AFAMOUR for its acronym in spanish) up to 20 points of innovation have been identified in both urban furniture and public playgrounds. Both share as outstanding innovation aspects the integration of design as a tool of added value to their products and the environmental sensitivity using recycled and sustainable materials, certified woods, manufacture with clean energies, the tropical woods use reduction, ecological wood treatment, the use of new technologies and the incorporation of Eco—design, that is the design of products having in account the entire lifecycle of the product.

Within the trends defining the current urban furniture can be found a type of design that responds and adapts to spaces, colors and uses that society demands. Customization and adaptation to the needs of the environments have become increasing important. "From the simple customization With municipal badges to the realization of exclusive and specific designs for each city, the urban equipment becomes & distinguishing aspect for the municipalities" claims AFAMOUR. They also explain that with the current pace of the market the designs age earlier and have a fast—paced rotation and a short life spam that force designers and manufacturers to develop new models constantly.

Public space is a changing and dynamic environment where facts such as immigration, new forms of urban culture and the aging of the population demand form the designer a flexible response that gives room to the creation of polyvalent urban furniture of a new kind. Needs ot specific age ranges can be met with two highs benches for children and elders.

Social tendency to individualism and virtual socialization are details that can be noted in new designs with individual chairs mixed with the traditional benches or with special spaces destined to the use of the computer or any other technological device.

Regarding aesthetics there are four main trends to have in account: careful lines that predominate allowing them to blend into the public space and to make more human the urban environment, transparent light structures that use the minimum space mixing with the environment and blending in the urban scale, colors that favor the mimicry trying to pass unnoticed and finally a wide variety in materials such as glass, steel, aluminum, wood, plastic and concrete are used.

New generation technology allows a tailored design of the synthetic materials and the development of active—intelligent materials. Another innovative point in urban furniture sector is the proposal of new functions to everyday items, for instance: ashtrays as a response to the new anti-smoking legislation or the bicycle parking and rental service.

Finally, a future trend is the application of technology to furniture so that in addition to traditional use it is able to provide information to municipalities and be an element to help the management of urban surroundings such as humidity sensors that avoid watering after raining or filling sensors for garbage containers.

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