Benches are high capacity seating solutions that have found application in all spheres of human habitation, be it in homes, waiting rooms, lounge areas and even outdoors, though the selection here caters mostly to businesses and institutions.
Naturally, one can always turn to understated, modern classics, such as Alvar Aalto’s friendly, plywood 1945 ‘Bench 153A’ made by Artek since 1945, or George Nelson’s seminal, 1946 ‘Nelson Bench’, manufactured to this day by Vitra.
A large number of waiting area benches continue being designed in this spirit, such as ‘Carta | CR/4’ bench by Cappellini’, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, which combines a plywood base with a seat made from cardboard tubes; Oskar Zieta’s ‘Kozka’, a pair of low, light, steel trestles; or Burkhard Leitner’s industrial ‘Constructiv PON Office’ waiting area bench, which proudly displays its slender, steel skeleton and adds an upholstered seating pad for comfort.
Quinze & Milan’s wooden ‘Airbench Large Boomerang’ deviates from this formal type by introducing a slight bend, while C.F. Møller Architects’ ‘Zipp’ waiting area bench for Magnum Olsen mounts a row of oak veneer seats onto a wall.
Naturally, there are also more sculptural designs available, for example Riva 1920’s ‘Loveseat’, designed by Jake Phipps, a waiting area bench carved into a sensuous form from a solid block of cedar wood; Fabio Novembre’s ‘And | DN/1’ for Cappellini, a large, polyurethane foam helix laying on its side, which the user enters to sit down; Ron Arad’s sweeping, gestural ‘Folly’ for Magis, a cross between a bench and a sofa; and Stephanie Forsythe’s and Todd MacAllen’s ‘softseating | natural brown kraft paper bench’ for molo, in which a honeycomb paper prism is stretches and meanders across the floor.
Last, but not least, traditional benches are represented by Fleming & Howland’s ‘Love seat’, which emulates Victorian designs and can be ordered with or without a backrest; Shuwa Tei’s wooden ‘New Legacy Godfather Double chair’, in which traditional Western and Asian styles are combined with modern craftsmanship; and Fehling & Peiz’s ‘Stuhlhockerbank’ which deconstructs the traditional type into a haphazard amalgamation of seats and backrests.