Showroom: On the Bench

New from Areaworks Site Furnishings, the L Series of benches rethinks the classic form using cutting edge production techniques. Photo courtesy Areaworks Site Furnishings.

Pair cutting-edge production methods with an iconic form and what do you get? In the case of a new line from the Canadian company Areaworks Site Furnishings, you get a line of durable, good-looking benches, dubbed the L Series.

Co-founder Geoffrey Lilge, an industrial designer, puts it this way: “I wanted to create a series with an efficient use of materials and assembly time—the laser cutting allows for any profile to be cut out of steel, so I was able to keep it minimal with soft edges.”

After experimenting with laser-cutting smaller-scale steel pieces, Lilge saw that the process could be transferred to larger items too. “We used quarter-inch steel which provides the strength we need, and the steel elements are held in perfect tension by the wood elements,” he says.

The resulting designs (12 different armrest and seat configurations) pay homage to classic outdoor park benches but with a modern twist. With a seamless design, they have a terrific strength to weight ratio and are easy to clean.

Given the firm’s northern locale, the pieces are meant to stand up to harsh conditions with materials (oak or ipe) and a galvanized finish designed to look even better with age—after a few years the patina will be outstanding. The perfect choice when looking for outdoor options in busy public spaces.

Their iconic looks belie another source of inspiration: “I’ve always admired the rational designs of the Italian maestros—designers like Vico Magistretti and Enzo Mari—who believed that the structure of the object creates the form,” says Lilge.

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