Street Seats FAQ

March 5, 2018 | | View Comments

Ready to participate in Street Seats? Here’s everything you need to know!

As you prepare your Street Seats entry, you might want some clarification around the design challenge. We prepared a list of FAQs below to address some of your burning questions. Looking for more information on Street Seats? Visit our main website here, and the Call for Entries here!

Can I apply to the Street Seats Design Challenge?

Short answer – YES! Creative minds around the world are welcome to register. You can be, but don’t have to be, a builder, maker, architect, designer, or engineer to apply. Anyone with an innovative idea and a drive to bring that notion to fruition my participate. Entries are accepted from around the world, and the top 15 will be fabricated by the chosen team and shipped to Portland, Oregon for installation.

What are the steps to apply?

Step 1: Read the Call for Entries carefully in detail. This document contains all information you need to know about the design challenge, including the timeline, how to enter, and prizes.

Step 2: After you have read the Call for Entries, you must fill out the registration form as either a Design Museum member or non-member. This step constitutes as your indication of participation – your registration does NOT qualify as your final entry!

Step 3: After you complete your registration, you will receive an email that includes a link to the final entry form, a link to the poster template, and all other information you need to know to submit your final entry. You must complete the entry form with your team information and bench design for consideration.

I want the member discount! How do I become a Design Museum Member?

Design Museum members receive a discount in their application fee – free before the early bird deadline, and only $20 before May 11th. To become a Design Museum member, visit our join page here – memberships start at just $5/month! You must enter your membership number upon registration to receive this discount. If you register as a member without completing the membership process, you will be reminded by our staff to either become a member or pay the nonmember application fee. If you fail to do one or the other, you will be disqualified from the competition.

Can I apply if I’m in a different country?

Entrants are welcome from anywhere in the world! If you are applying internationally, please keep in mind the time needed for shipping and customs – the 1/8 scale models are due to arrive in Portland, Oregon no later than May 18th, 2018. If you are chosen as a Semi-Finalist, you will need to allot for the shipping and customs for your full-scale bench as well.

Can I enter more than one design?

You are welcome to enter more than one design, but each must have a unique registration and payment submitted.

Where can I download the poster template?

The poster template is included in the email you will receive after you complete your registration, as well as in the entry form. If you need the poster in a different format, you can access different file types here.

Are there high-res images of the site I can use for my renderings?

For the renderings in context component of your entry, you may use some of our photos here of the areas around the World Trade Center – note that, if chosen as a Semi-Finalist, you will not be guaranteed a specific location, but these will help with your digital submission.

What do I keep anonymous in my entry?

Your poster, accompanying images, and video all must have your team name, contact name(s), city/country of residence, and company or school affiliation omitted. Judging will be done in a blind process based on the bench design and description alone. Any submissions that fail to comply with these regulations will be omitted from the judging process.

My bench fabrication will cost more than the $1,000USD grant. What should I do?

Semi-Finalist teams are welcome to use additional funding outside of the $1,000USD grant from Design Museum Portland. Teams may spend their own money or obtain additional funding from an outside source. Judging will not be based on the amount of money spent, but on the given judging criteria.

What should my scale model be made out of?

The scale model is meant to show the Jury what your final bench design will look like, as well as your ability to construct it. We advise you to create the bench as close to the final design as possible, including materials to be used and structural engineering. The Jury will use this model to determine the feasibility of your team’s design.

Approximately how big should my  scale model be?

The model should be ⅛ the size of the real bench. If the largest bench is 72″x30″x48″, the largest model would be 9″x3.75”x6″.

Can I 3D-print my scale model?

While 3D printing may be efficient, unless you are planning to 3D-print your full-scale bench, this might not reflect your final product. We suggest using the same materials and construction methods that you anticipate using in your full-scale bench.

Does my bench have to fit within bench envelope (30’’ x 72’’ x 48’’)?

Yes. Per our agreement with our site and accessibility standards, no element of the bench can be outside the overall dimensional envelope. Benches may be smaller than these dimensions, but no larger.

How can my company get involved?

Partners of Street Seats are welcome! Supporters receive international recognition in the design challenge, visibility at the exhibition in Downtown Portland, Oregon, and even obtain a Semi-Finalist bench to display, auction, or donate after the program is complete. For partnership information, email

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About Street Seats

Street Seats is an international design challenge which will culminate in an outdoor design exhibition and walking tour around the World Trade Center Portland plaza in Downtown Portland, Oregon. Entrants will participate by designing sustainable outdoor sidewalk furniture with a focus on reuse, using environmentally-friendly materials and innovative construction methods. Design teams will record and submit their process along with their final designs to, in the end, create the public design exhibition.

For more information on the Street Seats design challenge, visit the competition website!