Public seating: Benches or chairs?
When designing a new space, one of the decisions you will need to make is the type of seating your space will have. This seemingly simple decision can actually determine how a space is used. Do you want people to be able to gather around a communal spot like a table, or do you want them to move around and settle in more independently? Do you want to maximize the amount of possible seating, or are you set on a fixed number?
Considering the location and use of a particular space will lead to the best use of seating. Take a look at the different benefits and drawbacks of each type to determine the best option for your public space.
Benches are more frequently used in areas along walkways or public transit stops. People do not typically use benches for long-term seating – they are more often used simply for a short rest. A good way to tell if a space could make use of a bench is to look for people using steps, ledges or other areas to rest in the space. Unless they are surrounding a table, benches are more solitary and should not face one another.
Whether chairs are bolted down or movable, they offer more autonomy, giving each person their own space. Guests are able to enjoy their own personal space whether they are sharing a table with others or not.
Possibly the most versatile type of seating is the movable chair. Chairs allow more flexible arrangements and are often more comfortable than backless benches. According to the Project for Public Spaces, there are benefits and drawbacks for both benches and movable chairs. Furniture that isn't secure is subject to theft, though it is less likely if the space is supervised by an attendant or located near staff.
Anova Furnishings has a vast selection of benches and flex seating, as well as tables and chairs for you to choose from as you design your space. Whether you are looking for modern, traditional, recycled or metal, you will find the perfect match for your end design.