If you've passed through The Porch at 30th Street Station recently, you may have noticed some funky looking seating structures that appear to loop around on themselves with wooden benches below and canopy-like structures overhead.
These art-meets-functionality Porch chairs are part of Looped In, a new type of "social seating" debuted by University City District (UCD).
Looped In features three separate seating structures. Each is made of a heavy-duty, powder-coated steel frame, decked in sustainably harvested and locally-sourced Black Locust wood. The three structures vary slightly but all feature benches that face one another. With room for more than one person on each bench and the face-to-face interaction that the looping structure provides, Looped In is an attempt to encourage social interaction.
"Looped In is an evolution of our concept that site furniture can enhance comfort and social interaction in our public spaces," said Nate Hommel, UCD's Capital Projects Manager. "We hope our social seat is a catalyst that inspires social interactivity."
UCD enlisted Brian Phillips and Interface Studio Architects to design Looped In. En-Motion Design then built the actual structures.
The goal is to place Looped In at various public spaces through University City for several weeks at a time. The seats will be at The Porch for the rest of this month. In October Looped In will move to Clark Park for FIGMENT, a free, participatory arts experience that is held in multiple cities and will come to Philadelphia for the first time on October 6. UCD is open to suggestions for future Looped In destinations.
Christine covers transportation and writes about everything from pedestrian concerns to bicycle infrastructure, bridges, trail networks, public transit and more. Her favorite assignments send her bushwhacking through Philadelphia’s yet-to-be-cleared bike trails, catching a glimpse of SEPTA’s inner workings or pounding the pavement to find out what pedestrians really think. Christine also covers community news for Eyes on the Street, where her coverage ranges from food sovereignty to public art and urban greening. She first joined PlanPhilly in fall 2011 as an intern through a partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods website. During the internship her reporting on the Housing Authority’s surplus property auctions earned an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.