For The Practice of Everyday Design, the Log Chop Bench represents an exploration in process-based design. They decided to approach the concept of this one-off piece by setting up a series of parameters that would define the final product without them relying on drawings or a concrete final image. The project was a fluid evolution from an abstract idea into a physical sculpture that represents a dialogue between the designers and their collaborators.
Inspired by the long-standing tradition of logger sports, the Log Chop Bench was premised on using a logger’s brute strength and surgical precision to carve out seats on a reclaimed log. They began by contacting the City of Toronto to find out where all the good trees go to die and learned about the different tree graveyards (as well as tree nurseries) run by the City’s Parks and Recreation department. The designers selected a log that roughly matched the dimensions they had in mind and had it transported to their work site.
Next The Practice of Everyday Design hired a professional Lumberjill. Given little instruction and a few hours, the Lumberjill interpreted their concept and made it real, going wild on the log with her axe at competition speed, shaving off the bark and hacking out the three spots where the seats would be inserted. The user’s experience of the roughly chopped log seats is mediated by the fine, hand-sewn upholstery by a motorcycle saddle maker. The designers planned for their collaborators to adapt the design to create a custom piece that reacts to its particular constraints.
The Log Chop Bench was sold at Mercer Union Gallery's 2011 Stellar Living Contemporary Art & Design Auction on May 12th, 2011
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Lumberjill: Heather Upholsterer: Saddle Shoppe