Butters Innovation is in the hot seat with its Vitality range of assisted outdoor seating


Butters Innovation has designed a new range of outdoor seating, which the consultancy says aims to assist Britain’s ageing population.

Manufacturing has started on the Vitality range with Miko Engineering, and the consultancy is now looking for councils, procurement offices, universities and gardens to place orders.

The bench seating came about after Butters Innovation sought funding from Design Network North to design a range of products addressing needs identified by Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health.

According to the institute, the North East has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the country.

A consultation team, The Voice North, was employed to ensure inclusive design principles have been upheld.

The seats are 475mm off of the ground, which Butters Innovation founder Jonathan Butters says ’makes it easier to stand up if you’ve got creaky knees’. He says standard seats can be a lot lower.

To aid leverage, the seats’ arms project forward when users sit up or down and all materials are selected to be warm to touch.

’All the parts you touch are made of plastic or wood,’ says Butters. He adds, ’A lot of architects design street furniture in stainless steel.’

Dog leads can be tied to it easily and there is a holder for walking sticks and umbrellas.

Variations include straight beams with four adjacent seats and a curved beam for social grouping ’inspired by airport seating’. A range of timber and plastic finishes are available and all plastics are recycled polyethylene plastic bottles.

Butters says, ’Designing for your customer is imperative in providing products that are fit for purpose and visually appealing.

’In the case of street furniture, there are a number of customers for the product that need to be considered – from the end-users, to architects and installers.’

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