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.

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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.

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Photo © Matthias Pliessnig