Social housing reimagined

A social housing complex in Milan has achieved an elusive winning formula: comfortable outdoor spaces that are also sophisticated, durable and budget-friendly.

In fact, the outdoor furniture and facilities designed for this project saw the birth of a new product range: MAMUA seats and planters by Italian company Metalco. It’s a typical example of how Metalco cooperates with the architects to create a customised product that becomes standard, taking inspiration from a real client need.

The brief was two-fold: divide a public passage from private spaces (small terraces) – protecting privacy while also providing seating that encouraged people to socialise and enjoy the outdoors.

A crucial element was to add colour and nature with greenery to make the space attractive and welcoming.

Instead of using simple walls or barriers, Metalco worked with another Italian company, CZ Studio, to develop a product that could blend all requirements in a stylish, streamlined way – with durability to match.

The result was concrete-based modules that could function as benches, with built-in space for planters. They added powder coated steel seats – with and without backrests – to inject class and style to an inviting, comfortable relaxation area.

The length of the benches promotes the area as a place to gather and meet, building a sense of community for people living and working in the surrounding buildings.

To promote privacy and connect with the natural environment, bamboo plants where inserted into the MAMUA planters where they were used to ‘protect’ private terraces – while colourful flowers were chosen for the public walkway.

This project embodies Metalco’s concept of ‘social design for real life’:  creating people-friendly street furniture that enhances social and public life.

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