Bending to Nature
This bent-laminated chair was built for a client who wanted something “sculptural and amazing.”
When a client told Waters and Acland, a custom furniture-making shop in England’s Lake District, that he wanted “a signature chair, something sculptural and amazing,” Will Acland immediately started sketching. As he drew, Acland was blending inspiration from classic Scandinavian chairs with the arching joints of tree trunks and their branches. Although his design posed steep technical challenges, Acland was untroubled, since the company’s lead maker, Tim Smith, would be building it. “Tim’s invaluable,” Acland says. “I can design things I couldn’t really make—and know that he can make them.” Smith, who called the months-long build “an epic task,” laminated some 700 strips of 0.6-mm.-thick European ash veneer to make the chair’s frame. Gluing up just the component that includes the arms and front legs required three hours, 1 liter of epoxy, and a team of six. After Smith had the whole frame laminated, joined, and shaped, Acland was elated to see how the flitch-cut veneers had seemingly grown into a solid whole, “almost like we’d put the tree back together.”
For more on building this chair, click the pdf.
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