established & sons: bench years at the V&A
established & sons: bench years at the V&A established & sons: bench years at the V&A
sep 26, 2012

established & sons: bench years at the V&A

established & sons: bench years at the V&A
‘pé de porco’ (pig foot) by fernando brizio with amorim
L2400 x D450 x H450




the ‘bench years’ installation presented at the victoria & albert museum, was the result of a collaboration between british furniture brand established & sons and the london design festival. asking ten international designers to each create a one-off bench to mark the festival’s ten year anniversary, the project was exhibited within the john madejski garden at the centre of the historic institution.


the participating designers were each partnered with a material sponsor to produce their seating object: alexander taylor with caparo (stainless steel); martino gamper with the american hardwood export council (thermally modified american red oak, soft maple, ash, yellow birch and tulipwood); luca nichetto with nardo vetro (glass); edward barber & jay osgerby with torart (marle); konstantin grcic with bisazza (glass mosaic); fernando brizio with amorim (cork); felix de pass with established & sons (steel); jasper morrison with lowinfo (concrete); AL_A with ceramica cumella (ceramic); and sam hecht & kim colin (industrial facility) with DuPont™ Corian® (Corian®).

‘pé de porco’ (pig foot) by fernando brizio with amorim




portuguese designer fernando brizio‘s ‘pé de porco (pig foot)’ is the result of a collaboration with cork producer amorim. the bench takes the form of a pig’s foot and pays homage to the cork oak from which it is made from. it is in the forests where the trees that produce the material grow that are renowned for the black pigs living there and feed on corns.

‘tube’ by alexander taylor with caparo
tubular stainless steel
L3000 x D444 x H412mm




british designer alexander taylor‘s ‘tube’ bench references the felled logs in woodland. collaborating with steel engineer caparo, a simple, mirror-polishing technique was applied to the form, celebrating the material in its natural state, while making its surface reflective and hence, interactive with its environment.

‘infinity bench’ by martino gamper with the american hardwood export council (AHEC)
thermally modified american red oak, soft maple, ash, yellow birch and tulipwood
L6000 x D650 x H1200 mm




martino gamper‘s ‘infinity bench’ celebrates color texture and shape through the use of different hardwood species. working together with the american hardwood export council, the design is formed from woods which have been thermally modified, which limits the wood’s ability to absorb moisture, resulting in products which are more dimensionally stable and less likely to cup, warp and twist in humidity.

front view of ‘infinity bench’ by martino gamper

‘pier’ by konstantin grcic with bisazza
glass mosaic
L3000 x D600 x H900 mm




working together with italian producer of glass mosaic’s bisazza, konstantin grcic‘s ‘pier’ bench has been designed to be intentionally simple, allowing the material to take the stage. his first time working with mosaic, grcic assembled small pieces of glass in red, cream and grey tones offering a subtle contrast between the shades of color. through the project he was intrigued by the two sets of constraints presented: ‘small, rectangle, flat and the wide color range’.

‘plinth’ by sam hecht & kim colin / industrial facility with DuPont™ Corian®
bench one: L4080 x D630 x H550 mm
bench two: L1984 x D635 x H800 mm




working together with DuPont™ Corian®, sam hecht & kim colin of british studio industrial facility have conceived ‘plinths I and II’. each bench is made from Corian® and is an exaggerated representation of the solidity and hardness present in the plinths commonly found within the V&A itself.

‘western façade’ by edward barber and jay osgerby
carrara marble
L1600 x D350 x H415 mm




‘western façade’ by barber osgerby in collaboration with italian marble company torart, is a simple, monolith which features a pattern of apertures. the project’s name refers to the shrapnel damaged aston webb façade on the exhibition road elevation of the V&A, caused by bombs that were dropped during the 1940 blitz. running vertically and horizontally, the holes appear randomized, never intersecting, but still allowing light to pass through.

‘A-bench metal’ by felix de pass with established & sons
sheet metal (steel)
L2972 x D425 x H455 mm




‘A-bench metal’ is an evolution of the original ‘A-bench’ british designer felix de pass created for established & sons in 2011. the seating piece is formed by folding a single sheet of metal, thus requiring no bespoke tooling to develop the piece. the perforated seating surface allows water to drain and to disperse heat. the symmetry of the bench’s angle allows for it to be approached and used from any direction.

‘bench of plates’ by AL_A with ceramica cumella
L1200 x D800 x H750 mm




working together with ceramica cumella, architecture firm AL_A created ‘bench of plates, which showcases the glazes and spectrum of colors available by the company, referencing domestic crockery. the individual hand-made components can be read as plates, tiles or shingles. here, the repetition of a single motif creates visual complexity, while being modular, interlocking in both plan and section, each plate providing support to its immediate neighbour.

‘hitch’ by jasper morrison with lowinfo
L1800 x D360 x H420 mm




jasper morrison‘s ‘hitch’ bench features a scooped top surface in which the edgess turn up, suitsing the concrete form well, but what happens in the case that it rains? developed with concrete company lowinfo, grooves have been cut into the sides of the design which allow water to drain easily.

‘red glass bench’ by luca nichetto with nardo vetro
L2840 x D850 x H750 mm




‘red glass bench’ by italian designer luca nichetto with venetian glassmaker nardo vetro is meant to establish a connection between the individuals who use it simultaneously – a sort of small urban living room where people are invited to sit opposite each other instead of the traditional alongside arrangement. pictured is a prototype of the bench as the final design broke within the process of being shipped to the V&A and was never displayed.

  • laugh at the last bench. glass seating for public facility? especially with that fragile looking design. The designer should go with a more concrete shape to ensure stability considering the material.

    Skinner17 says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,546 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample