Street Furniture

Garbage.  No one likes to talk about garbage but our trash, waste, rubbish is a reality of everyday life.  My axiom of, ‘design is everywhere’ includes the lowly garbage bin.  Last summer I wrote about ‘the garbage bin as art’ in my post, https://modmissy.com/2011/08/23/art-in-the-country.  This time I want to write about Toronto’s newest garbage bins, the ones located on main streets for public use.  Referred to as ‘street furniture’ these futuristic bins were designed by Kramer Design Associates www.kramerdesign.com, a design firm specializing in street furniture, signage programs and media architecture.  I would believe that hours and hours were spent at the drawing board creating the design of these newest and innovative garbage bins.  In the last few weeks I have been curious about these bins and in truth have been studying their daily use by the general public.  First off, I like the fact that the bins were designed as closed containers – I don’t have to see the garbage or smell the garbage.  The closed container also keeps varmints and wasps out.  The containers cannot be knocked over spewing nasty contents all over the sidewalk.   I appreciate that they offer recycling options with different sections.  The colour is somewhat bland but do we really need to highlight a garbage bin!?  But here is the interesting detail about this street furniture and the real reason as to why I am even writing about garbage bins.  Located at the bottom of the bin is a foot pedal that when pushed, opens the flaps allowing garbage to be disposed of without having to make any contact.  Great design because I hate touching yucky, contaminated surfaces.  But it was not until just recently that I became aware of this design detail, prior to that I was pushing my garbage through the flaps.  And I don’t think most users are aware of this detail either because every time I pass by a bin there is garbage hanging out of the flaps.  I also asked many friends and they were not aware either that a foot pedal even existed.  I don’t believe anyone stands in front of a garbage bin reading instructions prior to use.  These garbage bins were unveiled to Toronto in 2008 and most of us are just figuring them out now.  As Ray Eames once said, “What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.”  Hhmmm??

Image via Modmissy

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