Small Project Winner 2012
Owner: James Clunie & Menghui Wu
Designer: Namon Gaston Design
Maker/Manufacturer: Alasdair Campbell
Wood Supplier: John Boddy Timber Ltd
Other associated companies: SodaKitsch Leatherwork
Wood Species: European prime grade oak
Dimensions: 1250mm W x 750mm H x 450mm
The Wu Bench was created in response to a client brief desiring a bench to sit in the vestibule of their Edinburgh townhouse. Their requirements were simple, a place for the family sit and remove footwear before entering the main hallway and a striking design which would complement previous commissions undertaken in their home.
The design for the Wu Bench was a development from a previous commission, The Walsh Chair, a three legged chair design with steam bent arm supports which drew inspiration from mid-century Danish designer Johnny Sorenson’s work.
The experience of the previous commission and influence from the clients’ interior led to oak becoming a clear choice of material, lending itself to both the traditional yet contemporary surroundings whilst complimenting the tan leather seat.
The most notable feature of the Wu Bench is undoubtedly the steam bent back/arm structure. Unusual in its construction, the components were bent in square section and shaped post steaming, allowing for a more tolerant and consistent structure. The cylindrical sections were then jointed to the legs with the use of oak doweling. The bench has four identical legs, of which the back two are rotated from the centre point of the upper support to offer improved ergonomics.
The seat was developed in collaboration with a local leather worker. It was important to offer a degree of comfort within the interior padding as well as a refined aesthetic which has been achieved through the quality of the leather and out-seamed stitched edge.
The Wu Bench is a functional yet sophisticated piece of furniture which stays true to its materials but remains strong technically. The bench aims not to impose on its environment, but rather create purpose and add value to a space such as a hallway, which may otherwise be overlooked. This subtle design hopes to realize a sense of timelessness, combined with craftsmanship to endure for generations.
FSC certified oak