Outdoor seating project

In 2009 academic staff from Massey University School of Industrial Design worked with PRA representatives to develop a module for the following year’s curriculum. Students could choose to work for one semester to design unique outdoor seats suited to Plimmerton’s waterfront. Teams of students formed and the creative juices started flowing.

Intensive briefing by council staff and residents on the need for robust seats to stand up to the harsh marine conditions led to a variety of practical designs. Students then presented their concepts on a blog site and at a public meeting. Feedback was enthusiastic and designs were modified and presented again at a second public meeting. 

Five designs were selected for different areas of the waterfront.

There was a prize for the group of students with the design selected by public vote with academic staff assessment. That $1000 scholarship went to the designers of Matau which was inspired by the shapes and textures of Maori fishing tools and waka. Six of these seats were built by master boat builder Bernie Perano and installed along Beach Road.

Another Massey design was selected to be installed along the road and in parks at the entrance to Plimmerton beside the railway corridor. These seats called End of the line feature cantilevered railway line supports with wooden slatted seats and back support.

Another finalist was Wave a simple concrete seat inset with paua shells. This was selected to be placed in several locations where the sea washes over the walls in high seas.

Local families sponsored the seats to the tune of $1500 each and plaques were installed with wording decided by sponsors. Many are in memory of a loved one or of a family that has lived here for several generations.

These generous sponsors were supported by Porirua City Council who oversaw production and installation through their village programme.

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