1. What was your inspiration for this piece? OR If the piece is a reproduction, explain whether your intent was to make an authentic reproduction or if you have intentionally changed some details? This piece was directly inspired by the environment with which it was designed for. The clients new home has the front entry door slightly offset from a downward staircase towards a lower level. They wished for an entry bench that would allow them to keep shoes and everyday items, take their footsies on an off, but that did not interfere directly with the operation of the door or use of the adjacent staircase. The result was a bench that is gently angled to allow the door to open (the wide, left side end of the bench is angled from the rear so as to allow for approximately 110 degrees of door swing) but also gracefully tapers from wide to narrow along the length to allow for unimpeded passage into the stairwell. The curves in the piece are emblematic of the flow of the passageway that the piece is situated in. A primary goal for this piece was to create a design which was both light and graceful (and would therefore hold a subdued presence within the space) while also commanding a sense of imposing drama characteristic of the personalities of the clients. The two clients are lovely, thoughtful individuals, yet bold in charisma, and these traits became an additional inspiration for the piece. The consideration for particular shape and style of the curved components help achieve these goals; in the seat and shelf, where each of the 7 slat members (4 on the seat, 3 on the shelf) are unique in their tapered curves; in the legs, which maintain a striking yet balanced tapered and curved horned shape, and in the leg stringers, shaped and sculpted to maintain the bowed elegance of the seat and legs. 2. What were your project goals? Did you use a unique process, design element, or construction method? A primary goal was derived as a result of the viewing angles that this piece would be observed at. With most furniture, little care is given to the underside/bottom of the piece. Who would realistically spend considerable time designing and creating a beautiful component that is rarely or never seen? This bench is exceptional in this respect, as it sits at the top of a stairway and is therefore very much viewable from below. This added an interesting challenge to the piece, as it required the look and appearance to be considered from virtually every angle. With this in mind, the joinery amongst the seat, legs, and top was carefully deliberated upon to provide both maximum strength and beauty from any chosen perspective. The middle shelf, while functional in nature as a place to store small shoes, gloves, hats etc, also serves a critical structural element, adding rigidity to an otherwise floppy bench. The shelf joinery is notable – it is effectively integrated into the 3 curved and tapered legs through angled housing joints. This was a particularly complex set of joints to cut, as it required precision cutting the flat shelf into the curved and tapered legs while requiring zero clearance joints. 3. What type of wood(s) did you use? What wood products did you use? What type of finish did you use? (or intend to use if finish coat is not yet applied at time of entry) This bench is made entirely of black walnut, with each piece carefully selected to showcase a grain pattern matching the shape of the piece. The seat slats were selected for grain which flowed with the curved shape, while the legs and stringers were oriented to ensure the flow of grain was uniform across each component. The creation of the seat slats and the lower shelf required the use of several jigs and templates, wherein plywood and MDF were used. The bench is finished with Osmo oil for its elegance and ease of repair. 4. Did you use any special equipment, design software, jigs, or hardware? Were any of these new to you? A CNC would have been very handy on this project! In its absence, however, a series of jigs and templates were created to develop the required shapes. The lower shelf in particular, with its complex curved and tapered housing joint, required a form of template-ception (that is, the use of templates to create templates) in order to ensure the requisite joinery accuracy. 5. What is the intended market or client for this product? The clients for this piece are two good friends of mine, and members of the community in which I live. While the piece is considered to be a unique one off, its design and construction was done with the use of jigs and templates where possible, lending itself to the potential for a limited production run. The seat and shelf were both created using a series of templates, while the legs and stringers were assembled with round tenons, meaning the legs could easily be produced on a 4th axis CNC. While there is a degree of sculptural hand tool work in the shaping of the legs and stringers, this piece could very well be jigged to produce multiples in relative quick succession.Maker Or Designer?
I am the designer and builder of this objectIf You Are Not Maker, Fill In The Name Of Builder And / Or Name Of Company Building Object