Public furniture designed with Bujar Beqiri as part of a school street intervention at Gjon Buzuku School.
🗓 Year: 2020
💸 Budget: €140 per unit
✅ Status: Complete
QM designed a bench for the Gjon Buzuku Streets for Kids project with metal fabricator Bujar Beqiri. It was important to work with people who were connected to the site; we were introduced to Bujar one day on a neighborhood walk.
Bujar showed us photos of a recent project he had completed using thin metal tubing and metal grate.
Metal furniture like the chairs at Skanderbeg Square works so well in public space because it is durable but light enough to be moved around.
Using Bujar’s technique, we changed the dimensions of the bench. Caregivers have their own set of needs from a bench: for them, a bench is less a place to sit and watch the world go by as it is a work surface. Benches seem to be most useful when they are broad and flat, where belongings can be spread out. Snacks can be taken out; a diaper can even be changed. All the stuff of caregiving has a place to go. The benches at Pazari i Ri are a great example, and in the afternoons they are packed with caregivers and young kids using them exactly like that.
Bujar made two versions: a squarish one with a backrest and a simple rectangular one. Making two different sizes would extend the budget by making an even cheaper version that could be spread out around the site. The width is sixty centimeters, which seemed to be a minimum threshold to still function as a useful tabletop.
The rectangular bench is lighter and less cumbersome, and fits in different kinds of places. While the square is more comfortable in open space, making its own little zone, the rectangle fits well against edges and in narrower spaces like sidewalks.
We had time to test additions to the benches, and we worked on a rounded backrest and hooks.
We will get to watch these benches over time—to hear what people think of them and see how well they hold up. It has been encouraging that people ask for them to be placed near their homes, and that the school places them in front of its gate for parents to sit while they wait for their kids to get let out of class.