Nine design teams
working (virtually) from
around the world.

Each paired with a
craftsman from Benchmark’s
workshop in Berkshire.

To create a table
and seating using
sustainable hardwoods.

9 Designers

Nine international designers have been challenged to create a table and seating, which will suit their new ways of working from and living at home, and they will be recording their creative journeys to give us an insight into their approach during these challenging times.

1 Workshop

Each designer will be paired with a craftsman at Benchmark‘s workshop in Berkshire, relying solely on digital communication and video conferencing to develop their pieces and bring their visions to life.

The New Normal

The New Normal

“It is pertinent at this moment to explore new ways of working remotely – and of creating at a distance. It’s by no means the first time we’ve developed furniture using digital communication tools, but this will be the first time we’ve developed pieces in a purely digital environment, without visits to our workshops from designers. I’m interested to see what the lockdown period has made designers think about in terms of product development. How does working from home influence the furniture in our home, and its functional requirements?”

— Sean Sutcliffe, founder of Benchmark Furniture

The Brief

The individual pieces, designed to suit each designer’s home living and working situation, will come together in the Design Museum, London, when it re-opens to the public, celebrating the act of coming back together – reconnecting – after lockdown.

A beautiful and
material: hardwood

Red oak, maple,
and cherry

The message of sustainability is at the core of the project and will explore how the designers can champion a beautiful and sustainable material: hardwood. The designers will be using a mix of three underused species- red oak, maple and cherry - which combined account for more than 40% of all standing hardwoods in the American forests.

The American hardwood forests are not planted resource, so what exists in the forest is there because nature intended it. Over-reliance on a narrow selection of wood types ultimately results in supply stress on the forest so in order to design sustainably there is a responsibility to use all of what nature provides and not just those species that are in fashion.