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One Patron, One Seat

One Patron, One Seat

Hyde Park’s deck chairs and the wood and metal seats of the Tuileries and Luxembourg in Paris -now brilliantly reinvented by Fermob as the Luxembourg collection - are the original park chairs. It took a couple centuries, but their example inspired parks the world over to make chairs an everyday amenity to the service of the public. Today all well managed public parks and plazas offer movable chairs, sometimes tables- to their patrons. In many ways the chairs have become a barometer of the level of maintenance of these places. When you see the seats, you know that “somebody” is in charge and they care about you.

Our point today is to a larger insight, which became a cornerstone of the management of Bryant Park, in New York, in the 2000s. While people are happy to transit through a park or plaza, and many don’t mind sitting on ledges and lawns, overall the number of people who can use your public space to stay in it is directly dependent on the number of seats that are offered. We can sum this up very easily: one patron, one seat. This led Bryant Park to go from 800 or so chairs available for use in 1995 to upwards of 4,000 today. Yes, 4,000 for the less than 6 acres of the space. That is one of the reasons this park offers the amazing sight of a dense and colorful, yet orderly and happy, crowd when you visit on a nice day. The many chairs make it possible to choose where they wish to stay, and to stay as long as they want.

What does this mean for you? When you consider your space and ask yourself: how many chairs and tables should I have here? The answer is: how many people do you want to see in your space. The answer to this question will give you that of the one that preceded it.

  • Post author
    Jerome Barth

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