The Typology Collection: The Art & Science of Designing Uniquely Immersive Outdoor Experiences
“Working with a world-class design firm like Designworks, a BMW Group company, is a special opportunity to push boundaries both aesthetically and technologically, and that’s exactly what we did with the Typology Collection,” says Landscape Forms Chief Creative Officer, Kirt Martin. “Typology is about sculptural, conspicuous forms that are functional, but more importantly stand out as works of art. Each component alone could be the centerpiece of a site, but when working in concert, the statement this collection makes is truly inspiring.”
Caption: The Typology Collection is an innovative seating and lighting system that adds dynamic new dimension to any site, enveloping the visitor—both from above and below—in an immersive experience.
For Tobias Adami, Creative Director at Designworks, a major design goal for the Typology Collection was to interact with and accentuate urban architecture through the innovative use of form and scale. “In cities we’re often lacking visual perspective, limited by a closed-in and claustrophobic view of the world,” describes Adami. "So our intention with this collection is to play in both the vertical and horizontal spaces of urban environments, to draw the eyes up into the sky, and to join the two domains with signature design elements both in the air and on the ground.”
Caption: Sculptural elements play in both the vertical and horizontal planes, incorporating both light and shadow, to draw the eyes skyward then back to the earth with signature design features.
Through these two guiding visions and through the profound level of design, engineering and manufacturing expertise that both Landscape Forms and Designworks share, the Typology Collection challenges preconceptions about site furnishing and lighting, creating installations that provide functional value yet also surprise, delight and enhance the landscape even when not in use.
“Imagine encountering a beautiful piece of art that you can actually touch and interact with, and you’re drawn to it, and feel the need to explore it,” says Landscape Forms President of Site Furnishings & Structure, Robb Smalldon. “That’s the experience we’re trying to capture with our new Typology Collection—to first grab people’s attention with striking, artful aesthetics unlike anything they’ve seen before. And then, as they take a closer look, to pique their curiosity as to how what they’re seeing was made possible.” No doubt, the Typology Collection will provoke questions like "What is this made of?", "Where is that light coming from?" and "Can you really make this shape from concrete?”
Caption: Typology ring lights are stunning, seemingly levitating light fixtures with illumination reminiscent of the sun’s corona during an eclipse.
In Landscape Forms’ largest lighting and modular bench collection introduced to-date, Typology creates a magnetic and immersive user experience. Each piece has distinct and memorable design features, but the overall sculptural quality, the unconventional juxtaposition of form, material and scale, and the artistic use of lighting within each component enable the collection to make a larger, unified statement.
Caption: To create the Typology Collection, Landscape Forms partnered with Designworks, a BMW Group company, an international leader in product development and industrial design.
On the ground, the Typology ribbon bench serves as the flowing centerpiece for the collection. Modular segments with varying degrees of curvature enable the bench to meander seamlessly throughout the landscape. It defines spaces, connects spaces, guides pedestrians, and can even form amphitheater-like circular or semicircular hubs that encourage community interaction.
The materials are elegant and refined, yet resilient and enduring.
On each segment, a thin layer of extruded ultra-high performance concrete drapes like a mantle over cast metal supports to express an elegance, refinement and seemingly impossible lightness. Soft, rounded edges invite comfort and relaxation. Contrasting the smooth, radiused form of the concrete profiles, the cast metal supports and end caps—with faceted surfaces like cut gems—communicate heft, angularity and precision in manufacturing. Protrusions on the underside of the concrete profiles nestle seamlessly into a support structure, enabling the components to join without fasteners. The central gap between the two concrete profiles serves as a mounting point for optional backrests, armrests and extended functional surfaces to be implemented in strategic locations throughout the installation. Emanating from within the ribbon bench, integral downward-facing lighting illuminates the space around the feature, eliminating glare and creating an illusion that the entire structure almost levitates.
The Typology Collection is systemic and adaptable, living comfortably in both new and existing architectural environments to guide the movement of traffic and create unique, three-dimensional spaces that invite and connect, surprise and inspire.
In the sky, Typology ring lights and stick lights reach upward, artfully illuminating the space above and guiding people to the installation. Like ethereal floating halos, Typology ring lights are stunning fixtures recognized instantly from almost a mile away. A circular strip of LEDs creates a solid ring of ambient light that, when viewed from underneath, is like a looking glass to the sky. Typology stick lights break from lighting tradition such that the pole itself is one solid source of light. These vertical columns of warm white or colored light stake claim to the site, accompanying the Typology ribbon bench across its diverse configurations, and creating prominent visual landmarks that draw people into the site.
Typology ring lights are striking pieces of industrial design by day, and by night, are enchanting and ethereal pieces of luminescent art.
The Typology Collection reflects Landscape Forms’ decade-plus long relationship with Designworks —a true collaboration between leaders in design whose expertise, processes and cultures continue to enhance and complement one another. “Science, design and art—Designworks is a well-rounded partner who brings it all,” says Smalldon. “The way in which the product design teams and engineering teams often switch roles throughout the process—engineers helping inform design decisions and designers helping inform engineering decisions—speaks to the level of mutual trust and shared passion on which this important relationship is based.”
Combined with the ribbon bench's integral ground lighting, Typology path lights safely guide users throughout the space.
“It’s always a joy to work with Designworks,” adds Martin. “They have our utmost trust to execute consistently on such a high level for ambitious projects like this one. But most importantly, Designworks is like family to us—we look forward to our weekly calls, excited to see what inspirations and spontaneous solutions will arise. I’m already eager to see where this partnership leads next.”