Woven Bench | Atelier Max Lipsey

Woven Bench is the result of close study of the Canvas textile. Zooming in and looking very closely at Canvas, I became intrigued by the strength that weaving imparts to the fine wool fibres, the tactile quality, and the optical effects of the unexpected colour combinations. I particularly wanted to explore the paradox of soft yet strong qualities that result from weaving. The idea of ‘soft strength’ at first seems contradictory or silly. But I’m reminded of the saying, ‘The wind does not break a tree that bends’: simple wisdom, and a more effective approach than reliance on strength alone.

I work a lot with steel and was attracted to the idea of adding a ‘soft’ quality to the strength of steel: steel and softness having apparently quite contrary associations. Using steel strips instead of threads, I scaled up the weave of Canvas. At this size – two millimetres wide – steel strips are rather flimsy. The longest ones, over three metres, are barely able to support their own weight. The structure produced in weaving them together brings a spring-like tension to the bench, allowing it to support a body with just a bit of soft give. Cladding each strip in a different colour of the Canvas textile adds to the feeling of softness: a surprising one for a steel bench.

Woven Bench was upholstered by Studio Stelt.

Max Lipsey (USA, 1983) is an American designer based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. After receiving a BA at New York University, he graduated from the BA course of Design Academy Eindhoven in 2007. Since 2008 his studio has been a platform to develop and self- produce his own designs, work with companies on mass production (Cappellini, TH Manufacture, Label Vij5) and to initiate group projects. Lipsey’s work reflects his fascination with nature, material, craft, history and making, and brings these fascinations to bear in the creation of objects.