LUXURYCULTURE.COM - Bent into Beauty


Discover how humble plywood became the majestic material of modern design.

Discover how humble plywood became the majestic material of modern design, and why it's beauty keeps us bent up with pleasure.

Before he penned the forward to 'Bent-Ply', a book devoted to the art of plywood furniture, Rob Forbes, founder of the online retail emporium Design Within Reach, challenged himself to a stiff task. Trying to imagine what his company's collection of modern chairs would look like if he eliminated all of the products that evolved from plywood technology, he realized that he'd have no modern-day business at all!

From Le Corbusier all the way to Frank Gehry, modern design owes its curvaceous sculpting, organic animation and sensual spirit to bentwood technology. "The very heart of modernism is embodied by the processes that evolved from this combination of human art and industrial wood-forming technology," Forbes explains.

While bending wood is an ancient practice, the German furniture designer Michael Thomas was the first to see the mass-production possibilities of bentwood furniture in 1851, and his creations set the precedent for modern design. More than one hundred years later, bent-ply's formal and technological innovations are the backbone of some of the most interesting designs today. Join us as we tour some of bent-ply's benchmark creations, many of which have been expertly reproduced in their original splendor. Be sure to snag one of these timeless treasures for some perennial plywood charm.

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