The London Design Festival has collaborated with the British furniture and lighting producer Established & Sons to create a series of one-off benches to mark ten years of the Festival called Bench Years. Each one is made from a different material and designed by a different designer. This family of benches is exhibited collectively in the John Madejski Garden at the centre of the V&A.
The bench designed by Baber Osgerby features a pattern of apertures, referencing the shrapnel-damaged Aston Webb facade of the V&A Museum caused by the 1940 blitz. Holes run vertically and horizontally through the bench, appearing randomised though they never intersect; light passing through gives a translucency to the otherwise solid mass. The bench is made from Carrara marble manufactured by Torart.
This stainless stell 'Tube' bench provided for the opportunity to collaborate with Caparo Precision Tubes, a division of Caparo bringing together Angad Paul, Chairman of Established & SOns deisgners, Alexander Taylor.
Referencing felled logs positioned in such a way in woodland situations intentionally or otherwise being used as a place to sit or rest. The nature of the brief suited this proportionally and provided the opportunity to use stainless stell which is mirror polished to celebrate the material in its natural state also to reflect and connect with the environemnt of the v&A in which it sits.
"the form of the bench is intentionally simple to reveal the splendour of the mosaics."
Within a city, the bench is a recurring component of our urban furniture yet its design is often subject to so many limitations to do with size, durability, vandalism etc.
The Bench Years project aims to free designers of such limitations, instead giving them a particular material to focus on. Working with individual material suppliers, 10 designers have aimed to exploit and accentuate the inherent attributes of their chosen material. The resulting family of benches explore the versatility of the materials and challenge our assumptions of the bench.
Martino Gamper, The American Hardwood Export Council
(thermally modified American red oak, soft maple, ash, yellow birch and tulipwood)
Images of the benches not noted are courtesy of Established & Sons