Wausau Tile’s Our Town Site Furnishings Collection helped create a space with a flexible design component for an already finished space.
Aksarben Village Plaza is part of a planned multi-use development built on the historic grounds of the 1919 AK-Sar-Ben (Nebraska spelled backwards) Horse Racetrack and Coliseum. The area is now home to Aksarben Village with a cinema, shopping, businesses and restaurants, with short and long-term living spaces. The goal of the Aksarben Village plaza was to make an open-air plaza that was both user friendly for day-time visitors from the businesses and restaurants, along with a safe and welcoming spot in the evening hours for residents nearby. Creating spaces that could give you semi privacy for a quick read at lunch or a place to hang out with friends after dinner was top of the mind for the team at McNeil Company and Magnum Development Corp. The final solution had to be low maintenance with heaps of visual design elements.
The new structures, designed by McNeal and Magnum, surrounding the plaza are high end slate, stainless steel and glass. The look had to blend and compliment the surrounding structures.
Prior to the Pandemic, all the planning in the world could not have played into the reality that soon became known as social distancing. Two months into the crisis, lead designer Deb Zandt at McNeil Company, thought on how to expand on the semi-private spaces already in play for the design.
Many solutions for site furnishings were, presented, evaluated, and budgeted. Kipp Diming from McNeil said “custom wood bench was original solution but cost was outrageous and not maintenance friendly.” Aluminum folding tables and chairs were a potential theft issue as well as a labor burden to move them in and off the plaza. Kris Moore from Magnum said the solution had to be visually pleasant yet comfortable and Deb Zandt felt social distancing was definitely a design consideration.
The agreed upon solution was the Our Town modular site furnishings collection by Wausau Tile. Our Town offers modular flexible design components for an already finished space. The smooth, rounded surface of Our Town benches with acid wash finish provides a fabric friendly surface. Wausau Tile’s precast concrete stock-color pallet proved to have just the right combination of color for the project. The long-term low maintenance of precast and sheer weight of concrete was sure to keep each piece in place and always ready to use. The modular design of the Our Town collection allowed for pod spaces designed for "together yet apart” social distancing or for small groups and family gatherings. The addition of the WS5161 Star Bench with polished top was a key design feature that added geometric diversity and a nice visual element when viewed from the surrounding