After meeting my client last week, I now know more about the bench and how it came to be, the designers he was inspired by when making it and the choices behind the materials:
- Can transport easily
- Minimal use of material
- Low skill production process makes it easy to produce
- The incorporation of oak makes it feel traditional
- Slim design
- Looks expensive but cheap to produce
- Surface board can change size
- Scandinavian feel
- Made for commercial spaces rather than homes
- Can be taken apart and packaged flat
So thinking about this I started doing some mockups of ideas based on the photos I took of the piece last week. Well, before that, the editing process of the images was loooong but I think I made it look good in the end. One problem we realised when taking the pictures was that the bench really doesn’t photograph well haha! It looks good when zooming in on details and viewing the bench from a pretty straight forward angle of the long side. Because the bench is so big, it is tricky to capture without making the whole thing look warped, so the “less interesting photography angles” you do, the better it looks!
Bench by Diggory Rush, before and after editing, Lisa 2017
Angle that doesn’t really work (it just looks like a ship??)
Photo by Lisa, 2017
So, picking up on the things I thought was most important in the design: the material, the fact that it can be made longer or shorter and the kind of 50’s vibe it has with it’s slim and kind of angled legs.
First idea I worked on incorporated lots of colour. As the bench is so neutral I thought it would look nice against a bright coloured background and give it a happier feel so these are the tests I made:
Coloured benches, Lisa 2017
I also did some tests with cutting out the shape of it and outlining it to see if I could do something with that, and it got me thinking about how I could use this to show how the bench could be made longer:
More colour ideas, Lisa 2017
More colour ideas, Lisa 2017
I also tried to place a drawn wood grain background behind it but I can’t make up my mind if I like it or not. Could work if I took better care when making the pattern to make it look more like oak bark.
Another idea is to show off the material more so I made an oak leaf that has the bench in the middle and placing the leaves further and further apart to symbolise how it extends.
Oak leaf idea, Lisa 2017
I kind of like this idea but I also don’t. It is nice to cut away parts of the bench because it looks more interesting, but I’m not sure this solution works.
A third idea I thought about is to keep it more photographic and give it a more toned down feel but then play with the layout of the images instead. I tried using bright colours at first but then moved on to only different tones of the same colour which I think looks really nice. Also the black and white with a small colour pop is interesting. Makes me think of Charles and Ray Eames. The repetition is also nice because it makes me think of consumerism and how easy this piece can be produced and also thinking about how my furniture student wanted it to be placed in commercial spaces.
Layout tests, Lisa 2017
As a test just for fun I put the image through the photocopier as well and moved it to create a longer variant of the table. I really like it and how wobbly it looks but at the same time I’m not sure it represents the bench as it should because it takes away a bit from the sleekness my client was talking about. I like it though and could potentially experiment with this more to make it weirder.