Product Design and its Relationship to the Natural and Built Environment

Site amenities that are seamlessly integrated with their environment create a sense of congruity and enhance the overall design. To achieve a final product that adapts to its surroundings and stands up to the challenges of public spaces, environmental aesthetics and smart material choices must be considered throughout the design process.

Design Consideration

Good design should appear to pull from the environment in which it is situated. Whether it is taking design inspiration from nature or observations of aligning buildings in a city center, Forms+Surfaces thoughtfully considers the relevance of each product design and how it will inform the environment within the installation.

Using Bike Racks as a case study, our Design Studio chose to design a range of products that would complement a myriad of settings while also offering multiple levels of security. Because there is a high level of physical interaction with bike racks, we chose to use only high-performance materials – stainless steel and aluminum. Within our product offering, you can find bike racks that were inspired by organic forms that will fit seamlessly into a natural landscape, as well as those that were designed to fit with the built environment by pulling form factors and style cues from buildings, arches and other elements of the manufactured landscape.

Timeless design will look as great the day it is installed as it will ten years down the line. We strive to meet this goal by providing thoughtful design and product options that stand up to the physical and aesthetic tests of time.

Material Choice

Utilizing materials that will last for years and that have an environmentally conscious life cycle is paramount. The current availability of sustainable materials for use in product construction coupled with the ability to cast and extrude raw materials with high recycled content leave no reason to not design with the most sustainable intentions. When products are not able to stand up to the challenges of human interaction and natural elements – whether it is because of poor material choices or manufacturing techniques that create opportunities for degradation over time – the entire installation suffers.

All of these factors are taken into consideration when choosing materials for Forms+Surfaces’ products. Our site furniture utilizes FSC 100% and FSC recycled hardwoods, castings and extrusions with high post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content, and recycled tire rubber; we are constantly in search of new and renewable and recycled materials.

We also design products with end-of-life in mind. Disassembly, recyclability, and repurposing are all important factors to consider in this regard. It may not always be the easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do.

Forms+Surfaces creates Designs for Life.

Image credits: Forms + Surfaces


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