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Benchmark dominates 2015 Wood Awards shortlist

A stool for the kitchenBenchmark Furniture has dominated the shortlist of the 2015 Wood Awards, with three of the seven finalists in the Bespoke and Production categories.

It’s A Stool For A Kitchen, designed by Felix de Pass; the Aero trestle table designed by Catherine Aitken and David Murphy for Edinburgh Sculpture Workshops and the Alpha chair designed by Brodie Neill for Made in Ratio are the finalists in the Production award.
The pair of A Stool For A Kitchen stools is made from American cherry designed in collaboration with architect Alison Brooks. Brooks chose designer de Pass to respond to her brief for a kitchen stool that was 'the right height for a kitchen counter and that is quiet, clever and beautiful’; a product she was unable to find for her own family home and also for specifying to clients in her architecture studio's residential projects. The core requirement of the stool is that it is usable from every angle and accommodates an everyday, dynamic perching and hop on/hop-off movement at about 650mm height. A central column and raised foot ring is used to free up as much space as possible under the seat, ensuring the user’s legs and body are not interrupted. The turned wooden top that is slightly dished and has rounded edges enables comfort and invites the user. A second lower stool at 450mm high, for use at a table rather than kitchen worktops/island units was also added to the collection.
The stackable Aero table was designed as part of a wider collection of furniture for the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshops and their new purpose-built facility in Newhaven, Edinburgh. The aim of this commission was to develop a collection of designs on site at ESW which were capable of being produced in small quantities in the workshops themselves, before being put to use throughout the new ESW building. Local Scottish ash was used for the trestle legs, a material with an attractive and varied figure, yet pale in colour. A simple and economical plywood tabletop surface edged with the same solid ash lipping, unifies the aesthetics of the piece while protecting vulnerable plywood edges from delaminating and splintering. Two narrow bands of rubber webbing set in the underside of the tabletop provide a safe, non-slip contact with the trestles themselves.
Alpha is a solid-wood all-purpose stackable chair produced using the latest production technologies of shaped wooden furniture. Through the Alpha chair, Neill has explored the use of CNC technique as a high-production tool rather than a prototyping technology. Additionally, the design utilises digital sculpting, taking away the reliance on moulds. By adopting contemporary digital processes of design and manufacture, it takes on a smooth appearance in contrast to the more traditional joinery of chair design where each element is exposed.
In the Bespoke category, Raw Edges’ Endgrain died stool; David Gates’ From Greenwich To The Barrier and Perpetually Ajar cabinets; Benchmark’s Getting Away From It All workspace and Benchmark’s Ve-Sel will compete for the prize.
The products will be on display at 100% Design next month before the winners are revealed in November.