Landscape Forms’ Studio 431 and Michael Graves Architecture & Design Partner to Create Court Furniture for the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center
Kalamazoo, MI - August 20, 2018 - Four of the show courts at this year’s US Open, beginning August 27, will feature contemporary, clean, and fresh furniture designed by Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D) and manufactured by Studio 431, the custom division of Landscape Forms, North America’s leading design and manufacturer of high-design LED lighting, site furniture, and accessories.
The courtscape changes are part of a rebranding of the USTA coordinated with the celebration of the US Open’s 50th anniversary. Furniture includes player benches, umpire stands, line judge chairs, and cameramen benches. This is the first project Studio 431 and MGA&D have worked on together.
“The idea of partnering with a leader in the product design world to create custom furniture for a high-visibility, branded venue like the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was beyond exciting for us,” says Landscape Forms Executive Vice President of Development Robb Smalldon. “Working with the expert team from MGA&D on this complex and fast-track project was critical. They know product design inside and out, and we know engineering and manufacturing. Our teams coordinated well and developed a fluid back-and-forth that culminated in a beautiful, functional product.”
The seating products have a thin profile and graceful curve, with perforated steel and aluminum surfaces and powdercoated finishes. “Our requirements are high,” says Studio 431 Market Specialist Darin Piippo. “Flawless execution is our goal, and the pressure on this project was high, given the visibility of the venue and the caliber of the people who will sitting in the furniture,” continue Piippo. “And that’s also what made it fun for us.”
Beyond a beautiful and fresh design that speaks to a rebranded and forward-looking USTA, the furniture had to be functional, durable, and comfortable. “The furniture needed to be mobile and light enough to be taken on and off the courts but heavy enough to be sturdy and withstand weather conditions,” says Piippo. The umpire stand features a cantilevered form that improves visibility to the court for fans and also aids the umpire in moving in and out of the seat. The player benches can be reconfigured for singles and doubles matches and equipment storage. “There are a lot of design and engineering nuances in the furniture that required attention to the smallest details,” says Piippo, “but those details will make the courtscape aesthetic and the experience of using the furniture something special and new.”
This year’s US Open will feature new court furniture in four of the courts, with plans for all courts to be outfitted for next year’s championship.
“This project has brought Landscape Forms full circle with the USTA and the US Open,” says Smalldon. “The USTA is a long-time client of ours; our furnishings can be found throughout the tennis campus, and now we’ve also moved inside the stadiums. We are honored to work with leading design thinkers like Michael Graves Architecture & Design and a great end-client like the USTA.”
About Studio 431
Landscape Forms’ Studio 431 partners with world-class landscape architects and architects to develop, engineer, and manufacture custom products for high-profile projects and branded venues around the U.S. Launched in 2008, Studio 431 is the premier maker of custom spaces, taking a design-based approach to every project and adhering to the highest quality standards consistent with Landscape Forms. It offers a full suite of resources, from project management and 3D modeling to specification and fabrication.
About Landscape Forms
Landscape Forms is the industry leader in integrated collections of high-design site furniture and advanced LED lighting. Since its founding in 1969 Landscape Forms has earned a reputation for excellent design, high quality products and exceptional service. The Landscape Forms U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan with sales representatives throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Asia. Landscape Forms collaborates with renowned industrial designers and consultancies, landscape architects, and architects to design and develop integrated collections of products that address emerging needs and help create a sense of place. Additionally, the company has formed global marketing partnerships with select companies that share its commitment to design. Landscape Forms has an installed base of products around the world. Clients include municipalities, transit centers, corporate, college and health care campuses, sites such as Orange County Great Park; and familiar brand leaders such as Boeing, Cisco Systems, Disney, Sprint, American Airlines, Herman Miller, and Nike.