Street Seats

    Boston, Massachusetts, USA

    Photo Credits: Garrick Dixon

    Urban art features interactive lighting

    Design Museum Boston, the city's only museum solely focused on design, launched a competition in September 2012 called Street Seats. The competition drew in architects and designers from 23 countries to design benches that improve the up-and-coming Fort Point Channel district in Boston, while remaining socially and environmentally conscious.

    Out of the 173 entries, 17 benches were placed in the Fort Point Channel district for exhibit from April 2013 through October 2013. The benches themselves are attractive and fun to visit, but Susanne Seitinger, City Innovations Manager at Color Kinetics, knew that lighting would take the exhibit to the next level. Beacons were installed beside each bench, each topped with a Color Kinetics ArchiPoint iColor Powercore luminaire. The luminaires are powered via solar panels, making it easy to place them exactly where needed.

    The lights go on each night from 7 pm to 11 pm, but they don't remain one color. Visitors can log onto a website or scan a QR code to access an app. They can then select a bench to learn more about its design and fabrication. They can also click on a color wheel to change the color of the light in real time. If a user tries to change the color of a beacon already in use, the app will suggest another nearby beacon to interact with.

    The Color Kinetics collaboration with Street Seats is part of a responsive cities initiative, that explores the possibilities for future lighting systems to attract visitors to neighborhoods, allows retailers to portray themselves in new ways, and brings an all-around new look to cities.

    "Street Seats is a platform for exploring how we can leverage networked, digital controls for future city lighting installations. We increasingly encounter interactive technologies in urban settings, especially during special events and festivals. But what do these technologies mean for everyday life in the city? With Street Seats, we've created an easy-to-access web-application for wayfinding, information and interactivity. Through citizens' direct feedback, we're learning what applications they find most engaging and meaningful," said Seitinger.
    Project credits

    Design Museum Boston

    Derek Cascio, Sam Aquillano, and their team of volunteers

    Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

    Shawn Ford and Ted Galo


    Martha Rettig and Pascal Rettig

    Department of Public Works Boston

    Para Jayasinghe and Fouad Hamzeh

    Head of the Charles Regatta Wireless

    Eric Malkowski and David Leslie

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