Benchark (Bench) by Yazan Hijazin
2011 - 2012, Golden A' Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Award Winner
My inspiration for this piece comes from the space it was designed for; an Art Gallery. It’s the only piece of furniture that was made for the gallery visitors to set on and enjoy the various paintings that are hung over the gallery’s walls which are constantly changing according to artists’ work on exhibition. Therefore, I wanted the only piece of furniture to be on the same level of its surroundings; creative and unique while keeping its main function. On the other hand, people of different backgrounds will be using the bench, and I always have been fascinated by one common element in people-no matter where they come from; contradiction. Contradiction is a sign of maturity I strongly believe. Hence I wanted my piece to have such a trait as well so I chose to work on a unique blend of motion and stillness
BenchArk unique properties stem from various dimensions; its structural design, size, and the blend of materials it is made of. The unconventional structure of BenchArk design comes on top in my opinion. It’s a different bench structure that blends organic movements of its legs with a minimalist and modern straight line. As in most of my designed pieces I work with both modern and minimalist aspects and combine them with contemporary classic curves. Its length, 3.5 meters, is above average which imposes strong presence and demands attention, even in a space that’s filled with high quality art. Finally the mixture of materials between wood and bronze and copper is somehow original, especially that the metals have been used in their real powder form which was a very conscious way of reaching the desired look and finish of bronze and copper using a fraction of the cost compared to using the actual metal sheet format. This bench was not produced with a large size manufacturer, on the contrary, it is a hand-made piece at a small carpentry shop in Amman.
Design Challenges
First challenge was to have such a commission in the first place, taking my none-design background into account. Second, finding the right level of know-how among the local craftsmanship taking the very basic furniture design/manufacturing industry in Jordan into consideration was very challenging, especially when it comes to bespoke design. Jordan design industry doesn’t use proper 3d computerized machines, no single Laser cut machine exist and not to mention very limited wood suppliers with little varieties of wood types. The concept of a prototype means a waste of money and time for most carpenters; the small-sized carpenters would be afraid of taking such an assignment, and the big guys find it financially very unrewarding. Finally it wasn’t easy, execution wise, to apply more than 2.5 Kg of real metal powder of bronze and cooper in order to reach the final desired finish/look.
Production Technology
Hand-made piece at a small carpentry shop in Amman under my full supervision. Materials used are hand picked Frake solid Wood, Frake veneer for edges, 3 Kilograms of real metal powder mixture of bronze and copper. The metal powder work was very hard as it took lots of labor work to reach the desired finish.
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