Vestre recently collaborated with Front to create Folk, a wide-ranging and flexible series of outdoor furniture consisting of park benches in various designs, litter bins and bicycle parking racks. In Nordic cities and towns, such amenities are found everywhere, often becoming a natural part of the park or sidewalk.
The collaboration between Vestre and Front began with a discussion about the importance and benefits of public spaces, and above all the function of seating in urban environments. The park bench is a gathering spot for people who live in the city. It is where they get together to drink coffee in the sun, as well as a place to stop and rest when carrying heavy bags, or while on a long walk or run. The Folk series was created taking all this into consideration.
"We started looking at all the outdoor furniture we encountered on our travels and various other references - analysing all the different kinds was inspiring," said Sofia Lagerkvist, co-founder and designer at Front. "Vestre's furniture is high quality, with long lifecycles. So, we quite quickly came to the decision to create a classic and timeless series, perfect for today and tomorrow, and for urban and close-to-nature environments."
Vestre is often characterised by wood and steel furniture in bright colours. Front wanted to create a series that would complement Vestre's otherwise modern and at times futuristic form.
"We drew inspiration from the iconic green park bench found all over Stockholm - a bench that doesn't take over but rather blends in with, complements, and becomes a natural part of its surroundings, regardless if you are in an urban space or out in nature," explained Anna Lindgren, co-founder and designer at Front.
"The design concept sprouted from the idea that the wood should hang free in the metal form, keeping the load points down to two," Lagerkvist added. "Visually, the bench consists of two different materials and three simple elements."
The new series is produced in Swedish pine and aluminum. The pine is treated with linseed oil, growing more silver grey and beautiful over time. The light, sculptural design of the bench is characterised by a central arch in aluminium, on which the wooden seat rests, and by the soft forms of the curved arch and rounded wooden seat. The series is designed for all kinds of weather, which, among other elements, is reflected in the split seat through which rainwater can run off. The aluminum used in Folk is produced with 100% renewable energy from the Nordic energy company Vattenfall.
The Folk series consists of a litter bin in two designs, a bench with and without a back rest, as well as a bicycle parking rack. Unlike older park benches, Folk is designed with two legs instead of four, facilitating assembly onsite, as it only has two casting points. Its form is also an advantage when it comes to park maintenance, as ploughs and lawn mowers can pass close by without a problem. The park bench also has a high armrest, making it easy for users to grip, stand up and sit down. Over time, the series will be further developed and expanded.