18-05-2018

Street Seats, sustainable pop-up space in New York

Parsons' School of Constructed Environments,

Rafael Flaksburg,

New York, USA,

Squares, Landscape, Installation,

Wood,

A pop-up seating space on the corner of 13th Street and 5th Avenue created by Parsons School of Design as part of a programme of the New York City Department of Transportation.



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Street Seats, sustainable pop-up space in New York A pop-up seating space on the corner of 13th Street and 5th Avenue created by Parsons School of Design as part of a programme of the New York City Department of Transportation. Street Seats is a sustainable oasis where people can sit and socialise.


When you go to New York you're so overwhelmed by the Big Apple you don't even realise that some important parts of city life are missing, namely public street furniture, where you can socialise outside parks and gardens, or just sit and people-watch.
This shortcoming is being addressed by the undergraduate Architecture, Interior Design, Product Design, and Food Studies students in what is the fourth design-build class, with assistance from Design Technology and Lighting Design graduate students from Parsons' School of Constructed Environments: “Street Seats”. It also has the support of the New York City Department of Transportation, aware of the shortfalls of places where people can just sit and relax to get away from the frenetic pace of New York's street life. 
Which is why “Street Seats” was built at the north-east corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street in Greenwich Village, depriving the ubiquitous cars of two parking spaces to give some breathing space to pedestrians, at least for a little while.
The Parsons Street Seats, a temporary installation has been designed with an eye towards sustainability. Repurposed fishing net is used for the seats, planters and screens and the structural modules and countertops are made from naturally rot-resistant Western red cedar. Biodegradable coconut fibre and jute webbing are used for the planters.
Operating off the electric grid, the lighting system uses solar panels, batteries and energy efficient LED lighting, activated by a daylight sensor to provide artificial light after sundown.
The result is a pop-up space, albeit small and temporary, with the intention of sending a strong message to the context. Constructed on a tight budget, using materials donated by sponsors, “Street Seats” invites busy New Yorkers to slow down, to sit down, relax and look around them, to really enjoy the truly unique show offered by the streets of New York. Because you don't know what you're missing until you've tried it. It remains to be seen if Street Seats by Parsons School of Design can mark the beginning of a slow move towards a more sustainable and shared use of the streets of Manhattan.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: undergraduate Architecture, Interior Design, Product Design, and Food Studies students with assistance from Design Technology and Lighting Design graduate students from Parsons' School of Constructed Environments
- https://www.newschool.edu/parsons/
Location: Corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street - New York
Year: May 2018
Images: Rafael Flaksburg - Courtesy of Parsons' School of Constructed Environments

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