Tokyo Bench by Gehry Partners



Gehry Partners, the architecture office of Frank Gehry, presented a snaking bench as part of Design Tide in Tokyo over the weekend.


Called Tokyo Bench, the maple bench was installed in the lobby of World Co Aoyama Building.


Design Tide is a series of exhibitions that took place in Tokyo form 30 October to 3 November, concurrently with Tokyo Designers Week.


The bench was designed for World Co by Craig Webb and Claire Imatani of Gehry Partners and manufactured by Tomas Osinski Design Inc.


Photos are by Luke Hayes.


Posted on Wednesday November 5th 2008 at 12:53 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • leopoldo

    yeeeeeeepppppppp… nice

    snake bssssssssssssssss

  • ldogge

    100% awesome…

  • jc

    Looks like a poorly done knock-off of Martin Puryear or Matthias Pliessnig.

  • Elaya

    Amazing …

  • pangkcoy

    kenneth cobonpue…..??????? :)

  • Too much Trubridge, too little Gehry.

  • bald skull

    woulda been cool 4 years ago. not its more of a clone of the other steam bent seating

  • Alejandro

    Circle Sofa by UNStudio meets seating pods from Gnufom, P.S.1 2006?

  • nice curves!!!

  • ..

    I can’t find it right now, but it is almost an exact copy of a bench designed three years ago. That one had a steel frame with colorful plastic tubes.

  • mic.n

    finaly a decent piece by gehry

  • beautiful

  • i would expect design from the venerable studio of gehry to be highly original and exciting, but sadly this derivative work is anything but. i have been creating designs like this since 2000, which have been regularly featured in design magazines all round the world. body raft is currently part of the cappellini catalogue. you can see others, such as the ("snaking") suncorp bench and nananu, on my website come on gehry guys, you don't need to do this, do your own stuff!

    • federouge

      Ehm, pretentious?

  • m


  • zuy

    it’s quite nice but derivative work from David Trubridge … How many designers in Gehri ‘s studio?

  • rik

    It’s much better than Davids. More form. More subtlety.
    And besides that, how genius is it to think of this type of construction? Not that much I suppose. I don’t regard this as one of Gehry’s better works either. It’s just a bench to have something to look at at this exhibition.

  • sabina

    the very similar one have in Bruxelles

  • zuy
  • Kris Adams

    Derivative? It’s a bench, and a beautiful one at that. Skeltal in structure and yet some how full of life and form.

    Yes it’s been done many times before but not many can get such curves and do it so successfully…

    I think people expect a bit too much from a bench these days…

  • amsam

    Yes, if it were a competition about whose existing work Gehry’s bench most resembles, it’s much more like Matthias Pliessnig’s work than David Trubridge’s. Pliessnig’s work is far superior to Trubridge’s, too.

    I’ve always liked about Dezeen’s comment thread that it points to similar work by others. But unlike many of the commenters, I’ve never thought it was somehow bad that one person’s work would unknowingly resemble — or consciously reference — another’s. It’s all part of the conversation.

    As for the bench, it’s nice to see Gehry focus on human scale objects, organic materials, and deconstructing some of his curves. (Check the end of the snake.)

  • andrew

    i think the comment from david trubridge above is a terrible mistake, online forums are not the place to critisise others and accuse them of copying your work, all whilst promoting yourself.

    perhaps instead of spending so much time online critiquing others and clinging to the past it would be wise to work a bit harder at creating something “original and exciting” as you say, because i had a look at your website and I didn’t see anything that really met that criteria either.

  • OKP

    andrew i agree..

    also mathias hs work is muchhh more exciting to see and shape then davids..
    I was surprised finding designer commenting on this by saying ‘ do you own stuff’
    david. better mail gehry personally if it bothers you so much..

  • Xit

    I always think of Newson’s beech chair from 1988 when I see this type of construction as opposed to the work of Trubridge or Mathias.

    Anyhow if we delve into design history im sure someone did something similar a long time ago.

    Also nobody owns the exclusive rights to designing in steamed wood, its like saying because a design is made from formed plywood its an “Eames rip off.”

  • I think its fantastic that we can recall similar designs to the ones posted here. If design is an organic process then similar mutations are to be expected and perhaps encouraged as the product is refined. Notice the subtle nuances differentiating the three designers mentioned so far. Each adds his/her own particular quality into the equation. It is this subtlety that makes all the differences.

    Have you noticed how Ghery finishes the tail of his structure with quite a coarse ending of somewhat ruggedly cut reeds? This adds to the “whooosh” effect of the dynamic snakelike form he has created. This is not to be observed in Pliessnig nor Trubridge, who prefer to trim their structures with rather more geometrically defined finish. Not that Ghery’s stance is superior in any way, indeed, there is a certain degree of impracticality to this feature, including the possibility of tearing ones tights!

    There is also great elegance in the parallelinearity of the seating and the reeds are sufficiently spaced so as to give a true impression of translucency (again a subtle differentiator to the work of say, Pliessnig, who seems to prefer closer spacing) I would love to sit on this.

  • I take that back, Pliessnig creates a rugged finish in in his “Delapidated Flow” 2007 but for an entirely different effect.

  • susan

    Congratulations on a really beautiful piece. And, as an example to other established design firms, congratulations to the Gehry office for acknowledging the collaborative nature of design in crediting a new young designer, Claire Imatani, alongside Craig Webb. Young bright minds are critical to infusing a brand name firm with new energy. Generosity shown in crediting them gives them a springboard and us the opportunity to learn who to watch for…

  • I acknowledge ‘andrew’s’ comment, and would agree if it was only ‘self promotion’. But I hope this is about stimulating discussion, (and later posts show that). That is the great value of these forums — I don’t see the point in just saying “amazing”! (and at least I didn’t hide behind anonymity! Maybe it is not ‘cool’ for designers to be involved themselves . . . ?)

    So to promote discussion: of course we all owe a debt to someone in the past. It is the baton principle. For me it was Richard Deacon. The issue is not where you came from but what you do with it. When I started this sort of work in the late 90s I was doing much more complex, craft based work, but made the decision to steer the idea towards designs that could be more easily produced in numbers — hence more regular sections and no (where possible) twist of the sticks.

    Mathias is a superb craftsman, who has also mastered computer modeling, and recently took up the baton to push the idea back in the direction of more craft-based objects which could only ever be one-offs, or very limited editions. I think his work is amazing, and I am sure he would acknowledge his precedents (which also include Donald Fortescue in the Look series).

    However Gehry Studios, in my opinion, do nothing new, simply creating different forms in the same manner. If it was some unknown studio trying to make their way it would bother me less, but this is one of the very best architectural/design studios in the world, and they don’t need to do this. Or at least they could take the baton and see how far they can run with it!

  • Hmmmmm – If I was David Trubridge I would be offended. I agree a firm such as the Gehry studio’s need to be innovative – these are the people the world looks up to. The challenge of design in this day and age is to find a voice in a world where everything has been seemingly done. That is what makes a difference or makes a designer stand out from the rest (the ability to be yourself and not be similar) Re hashed ideas are so boring. I would say the accolade should go to the crafts person who made this beautiful form.. Tomas is the one who realized this piece, sure he was under instruction from Gehry Studio but one wonders just how much instruction a non crafts based design studio could give on such a complex structure.. Maybe a few sketches……

  • Hayden

    Great discussion – how would we feel if David busted out a zig-zag folded cardboard chairsat Milan next year . . or a wave form Titanium roof for an Architectural project. Exactly. – why would he ?

    Maybe he would if he was bored, wasn’t enthralled by the breif, so looks for a suitable current trend by other prominent designers, mods it a bit. . . and be done.


  • Jenna B

    This looks like a poor rip-off of Pliessnig’s work. Go to his website at

  • Drew
  • chris

    Seriously! I can't believe that people don't see anything wrong with that form being so OBVIOUSLY ripped from Trubridge… even if the same process was used, i would have expected the form to be altered in some new way. If anyone would hang an action filled splash painting in a gallery, they would certainly be compared to Pollock. This is no different.