Tzannes was commissioned by the City of Sydney Council to design a sophisticated, elegant new range of public domain furniture reflecting the city’s design focus, outdoor heritage and culture.
Previously there was mix of outdated furniture across the city making ongoing servicing and maintenance inefficient. Our work co-exits, with and will ultimately replace, the old street furniture and fits comfortably with it, as well as adding a new dimension that is distinctive to Sydney.
The range of new elements will be employed across the cities varied landscapes from the central business district, new urban developments, the new light rail upgrade to parks and surround suburbs.
We believe public domain furniture is part of a city’s cultural identity. While it might seem small at the scale of a city, a system of coordinated furniture elements can reflect and form part of the city’s character, serving to enrich and connect its various parts together, conveying a sense of place.
We strove to meet five conceptual goals in our designs: elegance, simplicity, clarity, integrity and legibility of form and function. The new furniture range references the forms of industrial folded and fashioned metal plate, elemental pared back timber and the strong contrast between light and shade that is a feature of the Sydney context.
Our aim was therefore to create a distinctive family of elements expressing Sydney’s unique cultural and urban context. The range developed includes seating, garbage bins capsules, bollards, a water bubbler and tree grate with guard. While the function of each of the products is quite different, we wanted to create a ‘family of elements’ that visually look to be part of suite with consistent detailing, materials, finishes and manufacturing processes. We created two materials palettes- a stainless steel palette for the city centre and bronze for the surrounding urban ‘villages’.
Bronzed aluminium, stainless steel and Australian timbers were selected to complement the cities texture of sandstone and steel.
The bollard developed takes the form of the negative space within a folded plate loop, is elliptical in base plan and allows the addition of an LED luminaire downlight in the side channels of the bollard to be used as a directional tool or lighting a pedestrian path within the public domain. There was also a requirement for a removable version of the bollard, an innovative solution was developed by which the bollard can be removed using a security key and the floor base plate capped flush without any potential trip hazards protruding from the ground plane, product features previously unavailable in Australia.
The garbage bin enclosure is designed to house a standard wheeled ‘sulo’ bin eliminating any lifting by the operators, integrating vermin protection and sized to suit the city’s waste requirement. Common to all the elements within the suite, the bin design was developed to provide for ease of cleaning. Elements of the housing can also be removed (leaving just the stainless steel framing) in order to adapt to the potential security needs or transparent and visible rubbish collection.
The outer frame is a rolled 316 stainless steel plate, the trash deflector is cast 316 grade stainless steel and the doors are powdercoated cast aluminium.
The cast 316 grade stainless steel tree grate is an innovative three stage removable system developed with the city councils arborist which allows the rings to be removed as the tree grows without the need for cutting/destroying the product on site. The segmented components rings are identical for simplicity and ease of maintenance and replacement.
The guard that can sit within the grate or be stand-alone is assembled from 3 identical components joined together using a simple security key device. The three part tapering structure is inherently stable and designed to be self-supporting and can be constructed by a single person. The components are designed to be stackable to allow for efficient transportation.
The public bench is designed to accommodate three people, has just two legs for ease of street cleaning and less visual clutter, the configuration of the frame was designed to protect the end grain of the timber. The two material options include a cast stainless steel frame and a bronze powder coated cast iron frame with a sustainably farmed FSC certified Australian black butt timber seat and back.
The water bubblers form follows the bent plate aesthetic and is designed to be accessible by able and non-able bodied people of all ages. It is available in cast 316 grade stainless steel and powdercoated aluminium versions with an optional self-draining dog bowl attachment.
The new furniture is being manufactured in Australia, by ABUD (Australian Built Urban Designs) an Australian owned & operated company located in Sydney, which has more than 75 years of experience in crafting public domain objects.
The City of Sydney public domain furniture elements were designed to be robust and span generations. We aimed for the products in the suite to be truly sustainable by becoming loved for their functionality and beauty, instead of being replaced and discarded after a short life.
An extensive environmental impact and life cycle assessment study was done to assist with the selection of materials, finishes and manufacturing processes of the products to ensure the city councils sustainability and environment standards were met. The objects were designed for ease of ongoing maintenance and repair. All components have been detailed so at the end of their life they can easily be separated for recycling.