When we go outside, we often have a purpose or a destination. Sometimes, however, we also sometimes just want to be outdoors without going anywhere. Sometimes, you might want to work while standing up or chat with friends for a few minutes. Other times you might just want to give your feet a rest while waiting for someone and sipping coffee. In these cases, people are often just in a state of pause rather than completely settling down for long periods of time. This is the kind of inactivity that this outdoor furniture concept is designed for, creating a space for people to stop, stand, and sit, all while still adopting an active lifestyle, ironic as that may sound.
Designers: Chaoze Zhong and Chang Wu of Wild Zoo Design Studio
The NEW JOY collection of outdoor furniture immediately strikes one as unconventional from the first time you see it. In terms of both form and material, the design is inspired by round tubes or pipes that you’d see in public facilities. Although they can be painted with different colors, there is still something inherently raw with their appearance, especially with the use of simple lines and circles to form the structure of the benches and tables.
Appearance isn’t the only area where these pieces of furniture stand out. Their form and function revolve around the idea of remaining active even while not in mention, as well as offering opportunities to exercise at a moment’s notice. These ideas of rest and movement seem so diametrically opposed that it’s quite interesting to see them together in a single piece.
The table, for example, is meant to be used while standing up, but that isn’t exactly unheard of. What makes it different is that you’re supposed to stand on a round platform that you can rotate with your feet. This way, you can twist your body or keep moving even while you’re working on your laptop or talking with other people. It does raise some concerns about whether such motions are actually safe, especially outdoors where one could fall on pavement or hard ground when caught off-balance.
The bench, on the other hand, looks almost uninviting and uncomfortable, which is somewhat the point. Instead of being something you can lounge on, it is more like a temporary parking space while you wait for someone or finish your drink. It can also be used for leg presses or other light exercises, though you should be in proper gear if you want to do anything more strenuous than those. The small table can hold drinks, phones, handbags, or even laptops, though the bench’s crude shape might not make it ideal for long periods of work.
The NEW JOY’s simple design and use of easily accessible materials make it easy to produce and distribute. There’s even enough room to use more sustainable materials, like wood and recycled metal, while using existing production pipelines to conserve resources. Admittedly, it’s not something one would consider to be aesthetically captivating, but such easy-to-build outdoor furniture does have its place in public spaces that try to offer places to rest without encouraging loitering.