Bench (Judd’s and mine)Posted: February 2, 2014
I’ve spent years thinking about this piece of Donald Judd furniture “Bench” and how it simultaneously makes reference to the surface of the floor, a seating surface and a table surface . It makes me think about how all of these surfaces are ultimately totally interchangeable, yet we create huge distinctions between them. (for instance in polite society one would never think of sitting on a table or eating off of the floor) In tribute to Judd’s “Bench” I’ve been working on my own renditions of the piece in my living room at A-Z West.
I made my bench 17.5″ high, the same height as Judd’s, but it is bigger so four people can comfortably have a conversation on it. At this scale it is a slightly odd height, but in a good way. (It looks a bit more like a table than a seating surface) People are generally a little confused about how to use it, but it works really well once they figure out that they are can sit on it. The one thing that I’m still having trouble with is figuring out the right covering for it. Originally I designed a really beautiful tufted alpaca rug – but as soon as it entered the house the cats started to sharpen their claws on it, making it clear that a custom made alpaca rug was going to have a limited lifespan in a household with six animals and a nine year old kid.
Judd’s bench is covered by a Persian carpet. I am personally drawn to the geometry of Turkish kilims more then the the all over patterning of Persian carpets – so a kilim was the next surface that I tried. The kilim looks great in this photograph, but it is rough to the touch, and not so soft to sit on. Also it bleeds when it gets wet, and isn’t a good surface to spill food or drinks on. (another given in this household) Then I tried two cowhides which I like more because they are soft and super durable (even red wine wipes off of the white cowhide) – but the overlapping hides feel a bit too amorphous for the crisp formal shape of the bench. More experiments are now in the works… which I’ll document as they play themselves out.