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Durable Stainless Street & Park Furniture

For those unfamiliar with “street furniture”, this originally British and Canadian English phrase describes all of the objects and equipment installed along roadways such as benches, planters, tree protection, traffic barriers, bollards, postal boxes, public phones and lighting. Other typical items include signage, traffic signals, shelters, public lavatories, memorials, public sculpture, waste receptacles, and fire hydrants. “Park furniture” is defined in the same way as street furniture but is specifically found installed in a garden or park and can include features such as bandstands.

Besides aesthetics, the most common reasons for selecting stainless steel are long-term maintenance cost reduction, safety, and security. Stainless steel is substantially more corrosion resistant than other architectural metals. Specification of an appropriate alloy and finish is necessary for optimal durability. It can absorb higher levels of impact energy than any other architectural metal, a difference that increases at lower temperatures.

The arches spanning Post Oak Road in Houston, Texas, and the accompanying lighting and signage were installed in 1992. Welded and then seamlessly mirror-polished Type 316L plate (0.375 inches/9.5 mm thick) was selected for its durability in this coastal industrial city.

Photo credit: Catherine Houska

Design & Specification Resources

The IMOA website contains a wealth of information for project design and material specification. After evaluating the application requirements and surrounding environment, visit the relevant IMOA website pages for additional guidance:

Structural design
Specifications & guidelines
Stainless steel selection system
Deicing salt exposure
Coastal locations
Soil environments

In 2009, sculptor Eileen McDonagh was commissioned to design the Medusa Tree sculpture, which is installed outside the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art & George Bernard Shaw Theatre in Carlow, Ireland. It is constructed from highly corrosion resistant 2205 duplex stainless steel with a bright peened finish. The alloy was selected for its strength and low maintenance. After eight years it still looks pristine.

Photo credit: Kent Stainless, Wexford, Ireland.

Application Information

Stainless steel is an ideal choice for durable, low maintenance street and park furniture in corrosive environments. The brochure Public spaces provides many examples. The links below direct you to topic-specific brochures and webpages.