This seat is 20 years old: How to make street furniture last

20 years in the public realm: Classic Plaza Seats at the Australian War Memorial.

Thoughtfully designed and well-built street furniture, with durable materials and a consistent maintenance program, have lasted 30 years – or longer – in the public realm.

Here are our top tips for street furniture that stands the test of time.

1. Select a timeless design

Go for an aesthetic that will not date easily. Avoid trends that do not prioritise comfort, ergonomics and durability.

2. Select responsible, durable materials

In our 35 years of designing, manufacturing and supplying street furniture, we have refined our selection of responsible and durable materials. We use only responsibly-sourced materials that can be recycled in our products and packaging.

Durable materials retain their strength and integrity – they do not bow, sag, rust, stain or leach over time.

Our selected eco-certified hardwood, aluminium (both anodised and powder coated) and stainless steel all meet this criteria.

3. Implement a consistent maintenance program

Anodised aluminium, stainless steel and powder coated materials generally require only a wipe-down with a cloth and soapy water when necessary to keep them looking great.

Any minor breaks in powder coating can be repaired in a few simple steps documented in our General Maintenance Guide.

Eco-certified hardwood may require more maintenance work, depending on your preferred look and whether you wish to maintain your Warranty.

To keep up a warm timber look with oiled finish (and maintain your warranty) Street Furniture Australia recommends oiling a minimum of every three months. Your products may require more regular oiling depending on the conditions of your site – for example if they are in full sun.

For a more low maintenance option, the timber can be allowed to silver, however your battens may not last as long and will not be covered by warranty.

Phases of oiled timber ageing. Left: freshly oiled hardwood.
Centre: approximately three months on, re-oil to retain warranty or allow to silver.
Right: silvery grey patina develops – battens should be regularly checked for splintering.

For a timber look without the maintenance, select a Wood Without Worry aluminium woodgrain batten – with five standard shades to choose from ranging from dark to light, cool to warm.

4. Repair, refurbish, recycle

Street Furniture Australia offers the ability to purchase standard spare parts, and recycle the originals, rather than purchasing a whole new product – treading more lightly on the planet.

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra is an excellent example of the right to repair in action. Classic Plaza Seats were installed 20 years ago, with the timber battens replaced in recent years to extend the life of the furniture.

Aluminium and stainless steel battens and parts can also be refurbished or replaced and recycled – with old powder coating removed and parts re-coated for a fresh look.

This is part of our commitment to circularity and responsible product stewardship – ensuring we consider the journey of each product from Cradle to Cradle, the right to repair and ability to recycle materials at the end of life.

A lasting place to rest: Classic Plaza Seats 20 years onsite at the Australian War Memorial.
Street Furniture Australia products are made-to-order and powder coated inhouse, and quality-controlled to ISO standards.

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