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Matthias Pliessnig Steam Bends Strips of Wood into Stunning Sculptural Seats

by , 02/01/12

art, energy efficiency, green furniture, Matthias Pliessnig, Philadelphia design, sculptural seats, steam bending, white oak seats, ash seats, dynamic seats, wooden shapes, Smithsonian American Art Museum, low-energy technique, ancient technique

Matthias Pliessnig‘s beautiful organic benches strike a perfect balance between the the subjects he studied: sculpture, furniture design, and wood & art. The Philadelphia-based designer creates these astonishing sculptural seats by shaping ash and white oak strips with a low-energy, ancient technique called steam bending. Originally used for building bows and boats, steam bending works by shaping wood with heated vapor – allowing designers to create curvaceous structures like these dynamic furniture pieces.

art, energy efficiency, green furniture, Matthias Pliessnig, Philadelphia design, sculptural seats, steam bending, white oak seats, ash seats, dynamic seats, wooden shapes, Smithsonian American Art Museum, low-energy technique, ancient technique

To make his furnishings, Pliessnig first sketches his designs with a computer, allowing the ideas to grow into fantastic organic shapes. He then steam bends long strips of wood, changing the flat, rigid material into these fluid and functional shapes. A perfect marriage of craft and technology, Pliessnig´s work can be seen in the Renwick Gallery‘s permanent collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington.

+ Matthias Pliessnig

Photo © Matthias Pliessnig

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4 Comments

  1. Weersing Furniture February 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Stunning! As a sometimes boatbuilder, I can appreciate both the forms and the technique.

  2. biansco February 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Um… I don’t think Steve Foley takes steam bending to the next level. Looks like average furniture to me.

  3. greendesign February 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Nice work but my friend Steve Foley takes steam bending to the next level.
    Check out his designs;
    http://www.stevefoley.org

  4. cwoodruffcoates February 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Saw Matthias speak at Anderson Ranch in the Summer of 2011 about this work. So beautiful!

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