The first step in landscape design, says Rodrigo Abela, is to define the edges.
He should know. He’s part of the winning team from Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) that triumphed in the National Mall competition with a redesign of Union Square near the Capitol in Washington D.C.
But GGN doesn’t shy away from smaller projects to reclaim urban spaces. Indeed, the firm’s new line of furniture, called the UrbanEdge collection, is designed for sidewalks, plazas, airports, campuses and parks.
“In our research phase, we visited cities all over the country, and not just big ones, but smaller ones too,” Abela says. “They’ve all got lots of big empty spaces that need definition, like wide sidewalks and empty corners. They need activation.”
The UrbanEdge collection is produced by Landscape Forms, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-design site and streetscape furniture collections. It consists of planters, trellises, rails, tables and chairs, each made of cast aluminum with steel panels that can be powder-coated in a wide variety of colors
While the trellises and planters are angular, the seats and tables are a more welcoming oval in shape. But they’re all durable, for outdoor use. “That definitely changes the design aesthetic,” he says. “They’re solid – you could take a baseball bat to them.”
Each of the seven pieces has been given a family name, as though they’re siblings: there are Stella the table, Ollie, Sophie and Bernie the chairs, Gus the planter, Jessie the rail and Max the trellis.
All that might be cute, but that’s a secondary consideration.
“It’s not as much about how to make beautiful objects, but how to create space,” Abela says.
For more information, go to http://www.ggnltd.com/projects.php