2017 / Material Design / Manufacturing / Professional

Perplex Bench

  • Prizes
    Gold in Outdoor and Exercise Equipment/Patio/Garden Furniture and Accessories, Gold in Material Design/Manufacturing
  • Company
    Fig40, Canada
  • Lead Designer
    Lee Fletcher
  • Design Team
    Terence Woodside Montu Khokhar Mark Lavelle Nghi Pham
  • Client
    Gripmetal
  • Project Link

Perplex is an impossibly long and impossibly thin
cast, concrete bench for outdoor and indoor use
in residential, hospitality and corporate spaces. 
The physical dimensions of the bench are 4.25m
long;  0.6m wide; 0.48m high, supported by cast
aluminum legs.

This bench is the result of a design and
manufacturing exercise exploring the functional
capabilities of a new mechanical adhesion
technology. The manufacturer engaged with the
design group to explore applications of their
technology beyond the automotive field, where
their business centres. 

2 years of exploration including many prototypes,
led to the discovery of the incredible potential of
combining their technology with concrete. The
material, at the bench’s core, is a consistently
shaped field of hooks formed onto ultra-thin
gauge metal surfaces. Like a metallic Velcro, it
can be pressed, moulded, or cast to create a
bond that is mechanical and continuous,
strengthening hundreds of times per inch.

The resulting application of the new materials
meant that the bench is in fact hollow. Weighing
in at 250kg, comparatively, a concrete bench of a
similar size would be up to 1000kg in mass.

The material reduces the energy required in
product systems: reducing the weight of
products that results in more efficient
construction and transport, and the lack of
adhesives makes it easier to separate and
recycle materials at the end of a product's life-
cycle.

The result is a long, graceful bench rendered in
concrete, requiring only support at either end. It
invites use in a variety of ways.  Its scale allows
for different groups of people to gather, but
gather separately.  It showcases this new
technology and creates a sculptural furniture
piece for use in a variety of settings.

Photo Credit: Fig40