Explorations: Wood Bending


During the summer of 2016 I became interested in possibilities of combining parametric design wood bending processes. The work was a technical exercise thought-up as means to develop and refine skill. I began the project in Grasshopper designing the bent wood bench. The bench affords seating for two, but the form is such that individual seats are private one-and-other. This prompted one of my advisors to call it the ‘anti-love seat’. A partition naturally forms near top of the bench and is what establishes the privacy. In order to bend wood, I built a large steam box. The dimensions of the box were based on the length of the benches horizontal contours (dimensions determined in Rhino3D). The steam was generated by two electric tea kettles. I was able to not only manipulate wood of varying type and dimension but, I also found the the boundaries or breaking point of particular woods when steam bending. Finding the limit of the material given this particular process ultimately altered the direction and methods of fabrication. I also used this project as means to learn about wood lamination. The project is currently a work in progress. I do not desire to ‘complete’ this work but instead use it as a means to continue to explore and learn technique and refine craft. The question of ‘how to appropriately integrate new techniques’ has emerged as maybe one of the more interesting aspects of the work.