Addressing the lack of places to rest one's feet in the modern metropolis, French designer Francois Bauchet seems to, ahem, have hit the nail on the head with a new urban seating element recently installed in front of the Saint-Etienne rail station in southern France. Named Clous, French for nail, the form of the design makes a playful reference to the utilitarian object, providing a flat surface for passersby to rest a moment or rummage through their bag.
But Clous is not just a perch for pedestrians, a taller version also provides security against motor vehicles. Not so long after 9/11, urban landscapes around the world started sprouting concrete, steel, and marble stumps in front of government buildings and office parks. By and large an eyesore, most of these bollards looked to have been designed by a committee, they were so lacking in the human touch. If, in this new era, we must continue to shore up our defenses with barriers, then doing so with a touch of grace and an understanding of the psychological impact these physical objects have on the urban dweller lessens the blow. Clous is a step, or stool, in the right direction