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VPA Students Named Semi-Finalists in Design Museum Boston Street Seats Challenge

Park BarA bench design by two industrial and interaction design majors in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts was recently named one of 20 semi-finalist winners in Design Museum Boston’s Street Seats International Design Challenge. “Park Bar,” a design by Ryan Pierson ’15 and Sally Zheng ’15, was chosen by a panel of 14 experts and design thought leaders for best meeting the criteria of innovation, durability, sustainability, aesthetics, and comfort.

Individuals and teams from around the world were invited to design an iconic bench, or “street seat,” for the Fort Point Channel in South Boston’s up-and-coming Innovation District. The goal of the challenge was to improve the livability of this burgeoning urban area using design, while being socially and environmentally conscious.

Pierson and Zheng’s Park Bar brings social benefits of the traditional bar to the outdoors. The design uses recycled aluminum and reclaimed wood to create a bench with a usable work surface.

The winning entries were inspired by the rich history of the Fort Point community and the possibilities of Boston’s Innovation District. The semi-finalists received a grant from Design Museum Boston and the Street Seats sponsors to fabricate their full-scale bench for the museum’s exhibition, Street Seats: Reimagining the Public Bench, outside around Boston’s Fort Point Channel.

Although Park Bar is not included in the exhibition—only 17 of the 20 semi-finalists are featured—Pierson and Zheng are thrilled about the experience. “We were ecstatic,” says Zheng, recalling when the museum tweeted the names of the semi-finalists. “This has been an amazing opportunity; we’re learning a lot and challenging ourselves.”

The winning seats will remain on view at Fort Point Channel until October.