May 5th, 2011

Street Furniture in Guangzhou

Posted in Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf


I’ve written a bit about the discarded furniture phenomenon in Hong Kong, where people make up for a lack of quality street furniture by putting household chairs in the street for people to use.

It turns out Hong Kong has got nothing on Guangzhou. In that city’s ancient Liwan District, where leafy, winding streets are lined by family-run wholesale businesses, just about every shop has a jumble of tables and chairs outside. They’re used for meals, boisterous card games and, in the middle of the afternoon, a kind of furtive siesta. (Unlike in southern Europe, most businesses in southeastern Asia don’t close in the afternoon — workers just sleep on the job.)

There’s a remarkable variety of furniture found in the streets. Disassembled sofas are common, along with beat-up lounge chairs and plain dining room chairs. But there are also some beautiful wicker recliners and elegant wooden chairs. After all, when you spend your days sitting the street, you’d better do it with style.







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  1. Barry W says:

    It’s a genius idea, I’ve been to Guangzhou a few times before and noticed this, everywhere should do the same. Dispose of your unused furniture in the streets so everyone can have a rest! Heh.

    Great imagery :)

    May 9th, 2011 at 12:13 pm

  2. Allison says:

    Afternoon pal, just came across this great post. It is always interesting to read something that writers have put effort into. Keep up the terrific content!

    August 21st, 2011 at 10:45 am

  3. Martyna says:

    My made exactly the same action in Poland. It called THE CITY DOMESTICATED

    If you want prove that public space can be domesticated take your favorite piece of furniture to the street. The city belongs to us – its residents.

    Let’s create a social movement together: [the city domesticated

    What you need:
    1) your favorite piece of furniture
    2) some spare time

    Document it and show that the city matters to you.

    Join us on Facebook: [miasto udomowione and post your photo. Not on Facebook? Send it via email:

    October 3rd, 2012 at 5:38 pm