“The best weapon is to sit down and talk.” -Nelson Mandela Urban Chair is a design competition with the aim of developing innovative and interactive prototypes for seaters/benches/modules that can be placed in a park, street, plaza or any other kind of outdoor socio-urban zone. Urban furniture is the link between a public space and the people encapsulated within. Community seaters are the catalyst for public interaction as they create a setting for sitting, resting and other similar activities. They are responsible for drawing people together and starting the process of interaction and dialogue. Street Furniture is an important tool for creating a sense of identity and place making. Effective and quality furniture in a public setup creates an intrinsic relationship between people and urbanscape. It enhances the aesthetic appeal of the place and becomes the focal point of social activity. Dynamic and comfortable street furniture improves the quality of life and enhances the overall experience of people.
Industrial zeitgeist and its mass production methods have eliminated the ‘”design” from the process of creating new furniture. Though it helped in creating a sense of continuity at a macro level, street furniture became obsolete, bleak and rigid. It removed the innovative element from the language of furniture design and reduced it to its most basic function. Urban furniture of today is mostly utilitarian and uninspired. This combined with the social media revolution has failed to draw people outside and created a social vacuum in modern day public places.
The competition invites designers to create dynamic furniture to be placed in zones of social and public exchange. The product should be more than just a sitting module and offer multiple ways for users to interact with it. It should become an important symbol for the zone and stimulate greater social interaction among the people. There are no specific area/volumetric constraints and the intervention can be a single bench for a couple of users, cluster of individual seaters or a larger module that can accommodate multiple people (depending on the participant’s narrative). The furniture should be fun and interactive for people, allowing them a sense of customization of the space. It may also be able to a host other auxiliary activity like mild relaxation, resting, eating etc. The furniture should be considered as a piece of public art and have a sculptural value to it.
All factors that are conducive for an enhanced experience like comfort, ergonomics, durability, accessibility (disabled friendly) and visibility should be considered important while designing the module. Urban chair is an initiative to make our overall experience of a public space richer and create meaningful and homogeneous public furniture for the future. The participants are free to choose their intervention area for placing the furniture but it should be necessarily in leisure, social zones.
Winning participants will receive prizes totaling INR 2,00,000 with the distribution as follows: First prize- INR 1,00,000/- + Certificate
Second prize- INR 60,000/- + Certificate
Third prize- INR 40,000/- + Certificate
10 Honorable mentions Winners and honorable mentions will be published on archasm’s website and several international architecture magazines and websites partnered by us.
Standard registration: – 1st June 2020 – 31st July 2020
• For foreign nationals: 60 EUR + Taxes (per team)
• For Indian nationals: 1800 + Taxes (per team)
Late registration: – 1st August 2020 – 30th August 2020
• For foreign nationals: 80 EUR + Taxes (per team)
• For Indian nationals: 2100 INR + Taxes (per team)