Date Completed: 2011

The Log Chop Bench represents an exploration in process-based design. We approached the concept of this one-off piece by setting up a series of parameters that would define the final product without relying on construction drawings or a concrete final image. The project was a fluid evolution from an abstract idea into a physical product that represents a dialogue between designer and fabricator.

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. We 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. We selected a log that roughly matched the dimensions we had in mind and had it transported to our work site.

Next, we hired a professional Lumberjill. Given little instruction and a few hours, the Lumberjill interpreted our 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. We planned for our 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

Lumberjill: Heather
Upholsterer: [M]-the artist MeHi | Toronto’s Motorcycle Saddler