Modernist Muse Bench
The 'Modernist Muse' Bench, a timeless blend of design and craftsmanship
Handcrafted from premium maple or black walnut, this minimalist masterpiece embodies the spirit of mid-century modernism. It elevates the space it resides-in with its clean lines, versatile elegance, and enduring materials.
Why this piece?
George Nelson designed the platform bench as his premiere collection for Herman Miller. The design has been copied, modified and adopted for use indoor, outdoor and as a display piece. The integrity of the bench comes from the choice of materials (usually hard maple) and the joinery (half lap joints). The original design was all-wood, and it is rumored that he designed the bench to be uncomfortable, and if you want to learn more about the history of this bench read this article in WHY magazine.
A few things I changed in the design are the bench height and the use of metal leg. I use cold-pressed square metal tubing which has soft/rounded edges which I then powder coat in a very dark black. I also incorporate threaded screws into my design to make it easy to assemble/disassemble for shipping or moving. When clients ask for a longer bench, I preffer to double the thickness of the center brace or add a second brace. I wouldn't recommend 3 large football players hang out on this bench, that is not what it was designed for...
This bench calls for significant craftsmanship associated with accurate joinery, careful surface preparation, coating, and finishing. Although I take advantage of modern tools, it takes many hours of careful attention to detail to get the result I desire: absolutely no gaps in the joinery and strong bracing for the legs ithout affecting the visual nature of the piece.
Want to know why this several weeks to complete? I documented the entire process of building the bench when the Arts & Art History department at the University of North Carolina @ Asheville commissioned 3 benches in 2021: