How the Use of Colour Improves Public Space Life

Public spaces play a vital role in both the social and economic lives of our communities. From high streets and shopping precincts to community centres, parks and playgrounds, they act as a shared resource where all generations have the opportunity to meet, play and socialise.

Designers know the importance and how the use of colour improves public space life.

However, the success of these spaces is not only due to the urban designers, town planners and architects; it also relies on the community adopting the space as their own. Furthermore, while the architecture, the materials used and the overall design of the space all have a part to play, intelligent use of colour also has the potential to improve our public spaces. Certainly, in the Joseph Rowntree Report – The Social Value of Public Spaces – it was noted that ‘People are drawn to, and tend to stay longer in, public spaces that offer interest and stimulation’.

When skillfully used, colour has the ability to engage people and create a centre of attention. However, using colour in public spaces, particularly interior spaces, needs careful consideration, especially as our surroundings can influence our emotions and state of mind. If you’ve ever noticed that you feel irritated in a specific place, or that certain places help you to feel calm and relaxed, then there’s a good chance that it’s the colours in the space that are contributing to that feeling.

Different colours may influence a person’s mental or physical state

Colour is often used in art therapy as a way to tap into people’s emotions, as it’s known that different colours, and in particular whether they are classed as warm or cool colours, may have an influence on a person’s mental or physical state. Warm colours, such as red, orange and yellow can engender a variety of emotional responses from comfort and warmth to anger or aggression. In contrast, colours such as green, blue and purple, which are classed as cool colours, are associated with calm, relaxed and sad emotions.

The psychology of cool colours

Designers who are looking to create a peaceful and calming public space, often use shades of blue and green, as these cool colours are considered to be soothing. Blue is often utilised in areas of high traffic or where people spend a significant amount of time, particularly as it’s said to have the ability to slow down our breathing and lower blood pressure. Blue street lighting has also proved to be successful in reducing crime, with Glasgow installing blue lights in certain neighbourhoods in the city in 2000.

The psychology of warm colours

In contrast, if designers want to create public spaces that stimulate and excite, warm colours such as red, yellow and orange are used, particularly in places that provide food: it’s no coincidence that these colours are seen in fast food restaurants. However, using such bright colours can also cause irritation, due to the fact that they reflect more light resulting in excessive stimulation of the eyes.

It’s said that some colours, such as purple, help us to unleash our creative potential. This is because purple is made up of both red and blue, providing the perfect balance between stimulation and peacefulness that leads to creativity.

As you can see, through skilful use of colours, life in public spaces can be improved and enhanced. So the next time you eat in a fast food restaurant or sit gazing at the green walls of a waiting room, you’ll understand a little of the thought behind the choice of colour in that particular space.

Charred Larch Cladding – Shou Sugi Ban

Charred timber and the rise of Shou Sugi Ban as a cladding and fencing material seems to be getting very popular and has sprung up everywhere from gardens at the Chelsea flower show to uber-trendy building cladding.

So what is Shou Sugi Ban Yakisugi? It translates as “burnt cedar board”.

This process was invented as a way to make wood less susceptible to fire and to keep away insects and rot. On the face of it, this traditional Japanese technique involves simply burning your building materials.

It goes without saying it’s not quite as simple as this, it takes practice patience and a great deal of experimenting to get a dark even finish.

The idea is to burn the surface of the wood to a varying degree of charring. Then the burnt surface can be left completely untouched, or it can be heavily or lightly scrubbed, you can then seal with a clear coat or a stain. The charred surface is then naturally resistant to rot, pest, weather, UV, and fire; in addition to being aesthetically striking, and hauntingly beautiful.

Charred cladding is having a real resurge in popularity at the moment. It is turning up in all kinds of location from funky city lofts in New York to newsstands on the banks of The Thames.

If you read the architectural press you would be forgiven for thinking this is a new reinvention of a mysterious eastern alchemy, not so!

Shropshire farmers have been burning the base of fence posts for centuries,

The artists David Nash has become known around the world for his chainsaw carved burnt sculpture.

We have also been producing charred timber street furniture for over 15 years for a huge variety of schemes all around the country.

Our public seating tends too be made from either. Local oak, larch or Douglas fir

We burn scrub and finish the timber too a wonderful textured sheen, the resulting charred surface works extremely well in parks and gardens its tough, long lasting and colour fast and the contrast between the black furniture and foliage is striking all year round

As well as our range of charred oak street furniture, we are also able too supply a wide range of charred cladding in a number of profiles and finishes we can also supply fencing in locally grown charred cedar, larch, oak or sweet chestnut

So if you would like too know more about this unique finish and use it in one of your projects ,why not talk too us? with 20 years experience in this field you can rest assured that we know what we are doing.

Street Furniture – Where Sustainability And Style Matters

Aesthetics and ecology have never been more important in defining the modern urban environment. With authorities, architects and designers demonstrating a previously unheard of level of consideration for the visual impact of street furniture accompanied by a never before seen onus on responsible practices, the world of street furniture has changed drastically.

Not only is there an increasing demand for responsibly sourced, sustainable solutions, constraints mean that durability is now a key consideration. Gone are the days when a bench was a bench and that was that. With the high street facing more pressure than ever before, local economies require a dynamic approach to urban development which means out-dated and uninspiring streetscapes are no longer an option. Despite the challenges, unprecedented levels of urban investment are being seen.

So, what considerations should a street furniture project take into account?


Sustainability should play a central part in any landscape or streetscape project today, and seating is no exception. Locally sourced Green Oak street furniture is a great example of an ecological approach. The wood begins its life in FSC certified forests before being sawn at local mills, ensuring top-quality timber with a minimal carbon footprint. Green Oak is particularly resilient and does not require the use of preservatives and chemical treatments at any stage of the manufacturing process, nor in future maintenance; helping to reduce the unnecessary release of chemicals into the atmosphere.


The correct choice of street furniture can play an important role in enhancing the aesthetics of any urban or rural landscape. Whatever the challenge, be it a park, street, tow path or seafront promenade, it is essential to capture the essence of the surroundings by choosing the right seating for the location.

The Green Oak Wave Bench is a great example of how street furnishing can be used to replicate the dynamics of the waves on a coastal waterfront. Robust and contemporary, it is a stylish and visually pleasing design that adds value to any promenade or waterfront setting and provides comfortable seating for both adults and children, making it ideal for family destinations.

In contrast, The Charred Green Oak Ripple Bench is a great example of a stylish bench for a modern setting. Constructed from a single, solid piece, it is an ideal public seating solution that looks great in any environment and makes a bold statement.


Street furniture can be a significant investment and must be able to stand up to the test of time. Durability should, therefore, be a key consideration.  With 24/7 exposure to the elements throughout the seasons, protecting street furniture from the weather is essential. Durable materials and free-draining seats can play a significant role in offsetting the impact of the natural environment. Another unfortunate reality of the modern world is the need to protect your investment from local threats. Vandal-proof or vandal-resistant construction is a must, and protection from skaters can be equally important. The latter can be addressed with features such as wave-top designs.

The Chris Nangle Green Oak Street Furniture range takes all of these factors into account.

Add to that the fact that we have been in the business for over 15 years, it is obvious that we are the safe choice for your street furniture needs.

Whatever your project, we can offer the perfect, ecologically responsible street furniture solution.

Chestnut Tree House, Children’s Hospice

We were recently contacted by The Green Fingers charity to see if we would like to get involved with the woodland walk for Chestnut Tree Children’s Hospice. This was being designed by Ann Marie Powell Gardens. Of course, we were delighted to be part of this project.

The site was an inaccessible woodland before work started, it has been transformed into an inspirational woodland walk that is now accessible to all the children who use the hospice.

We were able to make two 3-meter Sweet Chestnut moongates, which provide the frame for an impressive brushwood tunnel for the walk to pass under.

The garden is a great addition to the hospice, hopefully, it will allow children and families to spend precious time together in the fresh air.

We wish everyone who uses the garden all the very best for the future.

Famous Examples and Benefits of Green Oak

With over 600 known species of Oak readily available, it comes of no surprise that choosing the best material for carpentry purposes is an extremely difficult task.

How do we establish which type of Oak is the most durable, attractive, versatile and affordable?

And better yet: How do you know which type of oak is the best for the manufacturing of street furniture?

Though distinguishing one superior type of Oak for any carpentry project is a tough goal to achieve, there are a few types of Oak, which simply prevail because of their uniqueness.

One of the more notable types of premier Oak is Green Oak.

Green Oak is a fundamental material in the timber industry thanks to its ability to hold a moisture content greater than its fibre saturation point.

It is responsible for producing ecologically responsible landscape furniture and beautiful, intricate designs.

In many instances, when exposed to excessive amounts of water, timber will shrink and on some occasions, possibly distort.

This is where Green Oak is in a league of its own: After being exposed to excessive amounts of water, Green Oak obtains the ability to naturally dry down by 18%; and by holding a moisture content greater than its fibre saturation point, Green Oak serves as the best material for benches that are likely to get wet.

Famous landmarks and buildings constructed using Green Oak

Many of the world’s most established architectural constructions famously used Green Oak as their core material. As well as its longevity, Green Oak also has the ability to be crafted into beautiful and intricate designs, which can be seen in the various examples below:

Pilton Barn

Windsor Castle

Our range of Green Oak products

In addition to the broad range of established buildings that are manufactured using Green Oak, we also produce a wide range of our products using the same materials.

To see more Oak products and to find out more about the benefits of Green Oak, visit Alternatively, view our full range of green oak street furniture on

5 Cool Bespoke Street Furniture Projects

Street furniture is an incredibly popular form of landscape design and production throughout the United Kingdom. Benches, in particular, provide visitors to a settlement a useful place to rest and admire their surroundings. In addition to this, street furniture also helps define an area and provide it with character. Many towns and cities become instantly recognisable thanks to their items of street furniture, which in turn, become iconic landmarks that give people a reason to visit a particular urban or rural location.

Over the last fifteen years, at Chris Nangle Furniture, we have designed street furniture for local authorities, top landscape architects, park developers and many other organisations.

Each project we take on requires a different outcome, depending on its location and purpose. To help show you some of our most unique work,  we have listed 5 iconic bespoke street furniture projects, which have helped define our craft and the settlements that they’re a part of.

Narrow Oak Boat Marina in Northwich, Cheshire

We produced a series of bespoke Oak seats, which were sat on top of stone gabions. We also designed and made 6 large charred and natural Oak benches to fit in with the historical loading trams of the salt industry.

The materials we used helped provide unique character to its surrounding settlement. Fitting in with the historical loading trams of the salt industry, charred Oak served as the ideal material for both aesthetic and maintenance purposes.

Northwich Witton Street Public Realm Improvements

Working in conjunction with visual artist Katayoun Dowlatshahi, we created bespoke Oak Bollards to help transform Northwich Witton by implementing elements of traditional paving, street furniture and engaging public art.

Perhaps the most distinguishable element of the Oak Bollards is the metal caps which were shaped like salt pillars. Furthermore, they helped provide a historical reference to the town’s unique and distinguishable traditional paving and public art.

The influence of the designs for this project came from the town’s history and was exceptionally enjoyable to work on and something which was greatly appreciated by its citizens.

Brixton Primary School Oak Tree Bench

After being contacted by a primary school in Brixton, we worked on a project that produced some bespoke seating and planters for its students.

Working closely alongside a local architect, we manufactured a collection of bespoke playground seats with adjustable feet, from locally-sourced Sweet Chestnut. We also made a very large Sweet Chestnut Tree Seat, which could seat a class of children. Finally, we made some large planters for the playground.

The work proved a big hit with the children, parents and teachers alike.

Therapy Garden Oak Seating

Our therapy garden project was assigned to us by the NHS and Central Scotland Forest Trust. The brief was to create a therapy garden and safe environment for patients at the new Forth Valley Royal Hospital to enjoy.

It was imperative for the garden to be low maintenance as well as relaxing and aesthetically pleasing to both passers-by and visitors.

The seating and shelters we produced were able to provide shelter for all weathers in the shape of two cube units with integrated shade sails. The cube units were made from burnt Green Oak, which is colourfast and requires no maintenance.

Our therapy garden seating project has proved to be a popular landmark since it was produced. We are delighted to know that patients of the Central Scotland Forest Trust are able to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings in peace and harmony.

Green Oak Sail Table

Our Green Oak Sail Table, built in conjunction with Timberintent, stands out as one of our most unique bespoke furniture projects to date. Surrounded by water, it’s primary objectives were to fit well within its surrounding,s whilst setting a distinguishable environmental tone for both local citizens and tourists.

Leaning slightly to one side, the sail table portrays movement and motion much like the water nearby. This style of seating really helps capture the environment and its relaxing nature.

The Green Oak sail table has proved to be a real hit amongst people who’ve visited the area; another great accomplishment for our passionate team of carpenters and furniture designers.


In addition to the ones mentioned in this article, there are many additional street furniture projects that we’re proud to put our name to. View our full range of Bespoke Furniture to see our latest projects. Additionally, we highly advise new visitors to view our About Us section to learn more about what makes us stand out from our competitors. Alternatively, contact us today for more information or inquiries.