John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Get up from the "Tulpi" seat, a Dutch invention, and it closes like a flower.
Imagine how delightful city life would be if, instead of parking your butt on a bench, you could land on a flower like a bee hunting pollen.
That's actually possible in Europe and many other places thanks to Tulpi, a Dutch company that makes a tulip-shaped street chair. The colorful seat "immediately creates an atmospheric scenery that will brighten up public spaces," writes Tulpi. And put your knockoff ideas for daisy and poppy chairs back in the hamper, because no flower can possibly be as good as the tulip, the company adds: "Everyone knows tulips. They are the jewels among our flowers, a great joy to many of us."
The major selling point of the flowery furniture is once you get up, it closes just like a tulip at night. That prevents the sitting surface from getting rained on or bombed with bird droppings. It rotates 360 degrees to give people the view they want or, if they're childish, spin around until they're dizzy. It's also vandal-resistant, though that makes one wonder, Who would attack a tulip? Oh, right—this guy:
One annoying thing about the chairs is they're made with plastic, something the world needs less of. But creator Marco Manders—who just won a design award for the seats—says the polythene is completely recyclable. People seem to buy that argument, as tulip chairs are popping up everywhere, from Switzerland to Tasmania to Dubai's Palm Islands. Last year, Portland, Oregon, even got in on the action, though its flowers are on private property.
Look at all these tulips, which sort of appear like carnivorous fly-traps chomping on humans:
Tulpi has also developed a tulip trash can, for what it's worth. The fixture is reputedly great for blocking hungry foxes and making them sad: