Landscape Forms Introduces Northport, An Expansive Modern Traditional Collection Created with Renowned Firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Kalamazoo, MI – September 13, 2023 – Landscape Forms, North America’s leading designer and manufacturer of high-design site furniture, structure, LED lighting, and accessories, is proud to announce the debut of the Northport Collection, an extensive new suite of site furnishings and lighting solutions in a Modern Traditional idiom designed in collaboration with the renowned Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA).
The introduction of the Northport Collection underscores the company’s continued commitment to offering high-quality, USA-made solutions for traditional towns and cities that embrace advanced technologies while still celebrating the stylistic and historical significance of their communities and downtown districts.
"The Modern Traditional collections we’ve created in collaboration with RAMSA, like Concord and Ashbery lighting, are very important, very successful parts of our portfolio,” says Landscape Forms Chief Creative Officer, Kirt Martin. "And expanding out from these collections, Northport is the first one that runs the full gamut of everything we do—a complete lighting line plus a full family of street furniture all brought together by this unique Modern Traditional design language that Robert A.M. Stern does so well.”
A defining aspect of RAMSA’s approach to Modern Traditionalism is a philosophy of “designing everything,” an ethos that emerged with the late 19th and early 20th century designers, planners, and architects from whom they derive inspiration, and an ethos the firm uses to immense success today. "In our planning projects, we like to say that we design everything from towns to tabletops. And we applied this philosophy to the Northport Collection,” says Daniel Lobitz, AIA, Partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects. "It’s about carrying through ideas from beginning to end and communicating these same ideas throughout all aspects of the project.”
Encompassing backed, backless and double-sided benches, area and path lights, litters, planters, bike racks and bollards, the Northport Collection creates a cohesive, holistic sense of place that extends beyond the collection’s constituents. It’s a modern reinterpretation of historic forms and techniques that evokes a warm, emotional connection to the past while still feeling and performing authentic to the now. "The mission was to create a collection that fits into cities and towns whose architecture and infrastructure have grown over the course of many, many years. It had to feel relevant to today, but it also had to embody that spirit, that sense of place, that sense of history,” Lobitz explains.
Lobitz, his colleague Thomas Day, Architectural Designer at Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and the Landscape Forms design team explored a wide range of historical design precedence to help inform the aesthetics of the Northport Collection, and the group points to three specific examples as central to their inspiration: The back-to-back benches found throughout the Tuileries and Luxembourg gardens in Paris, the influential cast iron work of Swedish Modern Classical architect Folke Bensow, and the acorn lamps ubiquitous in traditional American urban and landscape design.
Across the Northport Collection, modern and stylized allusions to these three seminal examples abound. From the elegant revival of the back-to-back bench, to the Bensow-inspired forms that unify the collection’s cast aluminum structural components, to the luminaires’ streamlined acorn silhouettes and LED “flames”, the collection is informed by the past, relevant to the now, and constructed for the future.
"Nailing Modern Traditional is probably one of the hardest things to do within product design—you need to have cues and references that tell a familiar story, but you also have to take it someplace new,” says Ryan Heiser, Design Director at Landscape Forms. "In Northport’s lights for example, because these are obviously no longer gas lamps and we don’t need to worry about wind interfering with the light source, we chose to omit the glass. Instead, the negative space between the arms invokes that acorn shape we’re all so familiar with, but does so in a more modern and thoughtful way.”
Reflecting on Landscape Forms’ and RAMSA’s long and successful collaborative history, Lobitz concludes, "Landscape Forms is the leader in landscape furniture, street furniture and exterior lighting, and we’re leaders in the type of architecture we do and the scale at which we do it. So the combination of these two strong and complementary positions is a natural marriage. Now into our third collection with Landscape Forms, there’s a feeling of family and we look forward to continuing this relationship for the long term.”
Learn more about Northport Collection.
About Landscape Forms
Landscape Forms iis the industry leader in integrated collections of high-design site furniture, structures, accessories, and advanced LED lighting. Since its founding in 1969 Landscape Forms has earned a reputation for excellent design, high quality products and exceptional service. Headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the family of brands includes Loll Designs located in Duluth, Minnesota; Summit Furniture in Monterey, California; and Kornegay Design in Phoenix, Arizona. It has sales representatives throughout North America, South America, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Asia. Landscape Forms collaborates with renowned industrial designers and consultancies, landscape architects, and architects to design and develop integrated collections of products that address emerging needs and help create a sense of place. Additionally, the company has formed global marketing partnerships with select companies that share its commitment to design. Landscape Forms has an installed base of products around the world. Clients include municipalities, transit centers, corporate, college and health care campuses; and familiar brand leaders such as Harvard University, Linked In, New York Central Park Conservancy, Bryant Park, Google, Coca Cola, Oculus, U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), Nike, National Museum of African American History (Washington, D.C.), Barclays Center, Adidas, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Microsoft, and Uber. Landscape Forms has been named one of the Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production for 2020, 2021, and 2022 by Fortune magazine, Michigan Manufacturer of the Year by the Michigan Manufacturers Association, and by 269 Magazine as one of Southwest Michigan’s Wonderful Workplaces.