Benches, bins and stand with a new look. Prague announces a design competition
The City of Prague is announcing a design competition for municipal street furniture. Designers will come up with a new look for benches, bike stands and litter bins, and will compete in a public international competition organised by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague). All the street furniture should be designed in line with the character and history of Prague and should tastefully enhance the image of Prague’s streets and squares. The winner will be known in autumn 2017.
“The municipal street furniture in place does not reflect well on the city, especially not the unique historical centre of Prague. We want to change this. I consider it strategic for Prague to have its own particular street furniture – so that we can help shape its design and potential future development,” says Mayor Adriana Krnáčová.
The design competition was announced following a detailed survey of the current state of the city’s street furniture, carried out by IPR Prague. The analysis highlighted the greatest shortcomings in the features in the streets of Prague: street furniture is often dilapidated, inappropriately places and aesthetically poor. The disparity of the individual features is also a problem – there are 44 different types of litter bin in Prague. In addition to the competition, the analysis should also result in the creation of the Prague Street Furniture Catalogue, the primary aim of which is to reduce the number of different types, ensure that furniture is designed in a consistent manner, and set a minimum standard for the quality of street furniture.
The new street furniture designs should reflect the fact that they will be placed in various types of public space within the city, such as in the historical core, the inner compact city or other public areas. Each part should be able to stand alone or fit in with other features; this is why they should have a consistent look. It is also important to emphasise that they should be easy to maintain and manage.
The winner will be selected by an international panel
“We’ve opted for this means of selecting new types of street furniture for Prague following the example of European cities such as Geneva, Basel, Malmö or Toulouse,” says Ondřej Boháč, Director of IPR Prague. “Prague should replace wholly unsuitable street furniture as soon as the new versions are available. The rest will be replaced gradually, as the various features come to the end of their lifetime. This could take ten to fifteen years.”
The international design competition, which will be announced on 30th September, will take place over two rounds. Designers can enter their designs by 20th December, and these will then be evaluated by a panel of experts. In February 2017, the panel will then choose the three best entrants, who in the second round will make four prototypes – a capacity litter bin, a suspended litter bin, a bench with a backrest and a bike stand. These will then be placed in public spaces to be tested. The entrants who go through to the 2nd round will receive sketch fees and reimbursement for the costs of making the prototypes. The panel will then choose the definitive winner in autumn 2017. Besides city representatives, the panel will also include experts such as Claude Brulhart, Geneva’s street furniture and public space designer, the prominent Czech designers Eva Eisler and Jiří Pelcl, and the architect Petr Hájek.
Prague will then conclude a contract with the winner of the competition. The city will pay a maximum of 2 million crowns for a time- and geographically-unlimited licence and the preparation of the tender documentation. The new street furniture owned by the city will not only improve the quality of Prague’s public spaces, but will also enable the city to freely deal with elements of its street furniture, issue shorter tender calls for contractor firms and change them if they do not prove satisfactory.