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Our favourite outdoor seating areas

Who better than Scot Fletcher from Handspring Design to join us as a guest contributor.

Handspring Design has been designing and making sustainable sculpture, seating and shelter for public spaces and private places for 20 years. All using UK grown timber connected in traditional, contemporary and sometimes unique ways.

One thing we are blessed with in Sheffield is views, in towards the city, or out towards the world beyond, and a great way to contemplate a view is sitting down. I’ve been fortunate enough to frame with seating and structure many views. Maybe my favourite is the Crows Nest (pictured above) in Heeley Peoples Park. It throws the rulebook out the window for what makes a comfortable seat, but I hope it makes up for it with the way it frames a multitude of vistas.

It has also become part of the local community landscape, as a place to meet and hang out, for humans and birds, and has featured on T-shirts, linocuts, and in photography exhibitions.

Visit handspringdesign.co.uk to find out more.

Here’s what the rest of the team chose

The Courtyard House by Fraher & Findlay

I really like internal courtyards in schemes although they can often struggle to be pleasant in the UK as they might not get much sun. This works really well – an enclosed space on the threshold between the house and the garden. It would be a lovely space to sit on a colder day in the winter sun. [Paul]

This is my favourite sheltered outdoor space.

It’s at my parents’ house so I know I’m biased but this really is a perfect space for entertaining, whatever the weather! A row of glazed panels at the rear of the roof allow plenty of light into the main living space inside. Another simple design move I like is that the 3 columns coordinate in colour with the sage green painted doors of the cupboards where coats, wellies and dog walking stuff are kept. [Mo]

Frank’s cafe by Practice Architecture

I’ve not been but I love seeing photos of this project. It looks like a fantastic place to enjoy a few beers on a sunny afternoon. I really love the bright red canopy and the rhythm of the dark timber structure with red guy ropes providing even more contrast between the two. One day I’ll get there for a beer! [Alan]

Barbican Estate Lakeside Terrace by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon

I really had to rack my brain for this month’s Our Favourite and eventually concluded on the lakeside terrace at the Barbican Estate in London. The terrace benefits from building on all sides to help diffuse any city noise. The planting and water make it a real inner-city haven for a summers evening drink. [Alex]

This is my favourite outdoor seating because it is my outdoor seating.  

It’s not permanently covered because the views are too nice.  I plan to do a lot of lounging on these in 2021. The Sheffield artists Darren Richardson and John Thatcher, of Yorkshire Artspace, based at the Persistence Works in Sheffield, made the benches for me in 2020.  They’re chunky and simple, made from Sheffield steel, with Cherry wood provided by Forest2Furniture in Nottinghamshire.  [Jess]

Villa Kuro by Mini Inno

I find it difficult to stay away from Modernism as it was the first architecture movement that made an essential feature of connecting outdoor and indoor living spaces. This villa is a perfect example of a sheltered outdoor space that is both elegant and simple, it’s created by extending the main roof making it part of the villa rather than separated which I find really clever. I would move there in a heartbeat! [Julie]