Looking for a fresh approach to landscape furniture, we asked design students from De Montfort University to put on their thinking caps.
We tasked them to come up with designs for furniture that would not only inspire the people using it on a daily basis, but also meet the challenges facing architects by creating long-lasting products that fully bring social spaces to life.
The resulting designs form part of our new Stratic Collection – landscape furniture inspired by the smooth lines and contours seen in the world of automotive design.
This is the second year we’ve linked up with De Montfort to get a fresh take on landscape furniture from the next generation of designers – and just like last year, there’s been a lot to get excited about.
With cash prizes, paid design work and a placement at our HQ on the line, the students showed plenty of design insight in their bid to scoop the award.
The winning design was by Agnete Linikaite – and she says it came with a view to both innovation and philosophy.
“I was interested in doing this as it goes into a lot of detail about examining how people react around street furniture in public places such as train stations, and I wanted to be able to bring something new to the market,” Agnete said.
“Public spaces are constantly changing and I loved that I was able to push the concept, find innovation and search for new things to design while still sticking to Marshalls’ philosophy.”
These designs now form part of our new Stratic Collection – products built with durability and versatility in mind.
The fully coordinated range incorporates a seat, bench, planter, litter bin, cycle stand and LED marker. The collection is made from Accoya timber, cast aluminium and stainless steel with a choice of metallic powder coat options.
Inspired by the designer’s work placement with a leading automotive company, Stratic’s contemporary angular design shares characteristics with the latest automotive designs – its smooth contours mirroring the sleek lines seen in modern motoring.
But while such vehicles take their dynamic design cues on the road, the Stratic Collection brings that same stylish statement to the UK’s public spaces.
This is achieved through the combination of materials used to build each product, as well as the unique choice of powdered metallic finish which can be applied.
Accoya timber is extremely durable, less prone to swelling and shrinkage, and will require less maintenance over the product’s lifetime.
The combination of stainless steel and cast aluminium in each product further enhances its durability and versatility. It’s the mix of these materials which gives Stratic its own unique identity.
The needs of public spaces
The Stratic seat and bench are each designed with flexibility in mind. Their smooth angles and polished finishes come from that same combination of defined aluminium castings, coated Accoya timber and metallic powder coating.
The products benefit from quick installation, and can be quickly and easily moved and re-installed if needed.
One of the key insights provided by the students was the evolving use of public spaces, and what their future might hold.
As the expected growth of urban areas begins to reduce our opportunities to connect with nature, it’s vital that we plan for the inclusion of green spaces.
To that end, there’s plenty of space to plant within the Stratic planter’s 200-litre-plus capacity. It contains a built-in irrigation system, which means there’s little need for maintenance.
And as we further embrace alternative modes of transport, the Stratic cycle stand is designed to incorporate the identity of its fellow products within the range, and also adds LED markers for easy identification and demarcation of the space.
With a need for landscape furniture that suits the ever-evolving requirements of its users, insight from the next generation of designers has enabled us to create something that’s more than merely functional. Stratic also has the power to inspire.