Oi Choong, winner of the 2018 Marion Mahony Griffin Prize for a distinctive body of work by a female architect, looks back on a career that spans the rise of landscape architecture as a profession, and women in the workplace.
Australia’s First Smart Bench
PowerMe™ is Australia’s first smart bench.
It is a table that integrates with a wide range of seats to enable people to sit back, connect and power up their phones.
As we now rely on our phones to manage our schedules, catch up on news and for loved ones to contact us, especially in emergencies, running out of battery when out and about is not an option.
Charging points in public spaces will provide peace of mind.
The smart system is the first of its kind to be designed and made in Australia.
It is compatible with Street Furniture Australia seats in different environments, including:
The new Aria seating system, for modern, urban locations.
The Classic Galleria range, for more traditional and heritage environments.
The Mall range, classic and versatile to suit a wide range of spaces.
Termini for airports and interior waiting lounges.
Concourse for stations, stops and transport interchanges.
The table provides wireless induction charging, USB ports and power points, and space for optional WiFi and sensors.
It is also a convenient platform for your coffee and sandwich, with ambient blue LED lighting to guide users at night.
Maintenance managers will love the clamshell opening, where you can see and access all components at once, with a security key.
Power outages are signalled when the blue LED light turns off, allowing managers to easily detect and address issues.
Easy security access for the maintenance team
Power outages are signalled by the blue LED light turning off.
Optional sensors can also let asset managers know exactly where the benches are, how often they are used and when they were last maintained.
The modular design is future-proof, as it allows easy technology upgrades. Switch out any of the four charging modules, or add more hardware inside.
“PowerMe is an enduring asset for universities, shopping centres, parks, streets, airports, stations – wherever people might sit to charge their phone or use WiFi – so we’ve kept the electronics modular and easy to upgrade,” says Danny Cheung, Principal Industrial Designer with Street Furniture Australia.
“The rate of technology change is faster than you’re going to want to replace your furniture assets, so this system avoids committing to one generation of tech – there’s no risk of getting stuck in the past.”
PowerMe addresses two aspects of smart city design: the public space experience for users, and smart asset management for custodians.
Just as carefully placing seats in public places encourages people to visit and spend time (see our Jan Gehl summary, ‘How to Place Seats in the City‘), providing the option to charge a device and connect to WiFi adds further incentive to stay.
“Delving into what people really want and need from public places in our user-centred design research, we found most users are looking to work, socialise, play and stay connected on the go,” says Street Furniture Australia Design Director Mark Armstrong.
“For custodians, PowerMe can provide data on how many people are visiting the space, and when, through WiFi and sensors. This is exciting for asset owners and managers, as you will be able to measure the performance of a place, and use hard data for future planning and maintenance.”
Future-proof PowerMe is a table first, which houses any technology you need.
PowerMe enables people to work, socialise, dine, play and connect on the go.
The PowerMe prototype debuted at Future Street, a demonstration of technologies tipped to enhance city life officially opened by the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, in front of Customs House in Sydney.
The Street Furniture Australia R&D team collected feedback from visiting public realm professionals from the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture, including landscape architects and Council delegations, and the public.
With wireless charging high on the wishlist for responders, the team began work on integrating this technology for the release.
“We made the table bigger to include more space inside for electronics, slightly changed the angle, added more LED lighting and of course, the wireless charging surface. You’ll be able to put your phone or smart watch, if they are compatible, straight onto the tabletop in the charging zone, no cables required,” says Cheung.
“We gave our inhouse 3D printer a workout building new prototypes. One of our design challenges has been making PowerMe not only strong, weatherproof and durable, but aesthetically pleasing as well. Printing is important to gauge the effect of changes, being able to see and touch the design in the real world.”
All-weather wireless charging.
Premium matte finish.
PowerMe was a response to a design-thinking project looking at how people currently use public space, and how their experience could be improved. It involved many hours of interviews and observing parks at different times of the day and week.
“The ability to connect to wifi, and keep devices charged, is an overlapping priority for many of these users of public places, whether it’s for work and personal admin, entertainment or getting around the city. So a smart bench is an easy way to facilitate all of these needs for the community.” says Armstrong.
Enquire now for further information about PowerMe.
A 1-min summary of the PowerMe and the new Aria seating system:
See PowerMe at the 2018 International Festival of Landscape Architecture in October, one of our 7 must-see festivities.
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