LONDON – With its sinuous and dynamic form, this rare aluminium bench from Thomas Heatherwick's 'Extrusions' series is a thoughtful mix of technology and imagination. This example is one of the larger and more complex forms by the designer to come to auction in recent years. A beautiful feat of contemporary design, this bench represents the first piece of seating in metal comprised of a single component, free from any joins.
THOMAS HEATHERWICK'S ‘EXTRUSION’ BENCH, 2011 WILL BE OFFERED IN SOTHEBY'S LONDON DESIGN SALE ON 4 NOVEMBER.
To create the 'Extrusion' series, Heatherwick located the world's largest extrusion machine in Asia where it was used in the aerospace industry. By exerting an immense amount of pressure, the machine forces aluminium through a die, or profile opening, as one might squeeze toothpaste from a tube. The form created can then be cut to a desired length as individual benches or Extrusions. A limited number were created. and each is unique, demonstrating dynamic bends, folds and undulations, enhanced with the use of large levers to manipulate the material during the process.
The 'Extrusion' bench offered at Sotheby's this November demonstrates a series of wonderful contrasts – the work is complex in its manufacture, yet the result is simple; made from a strong, hard material, it retains a liquid and sinuous line; painstakingly hand-polished, it retains matte ends that emphasise the cross-section imparted by the die; the randomness of each ripple and contour is countered by the creation of planned and comfortable seat.
Heatherwick's 'Extrusion' bench pushes boundaries of both contemporary design and technology to create a work of innovative beauty.