Bench 1: Cameron Barnes

This bench will form part of 50+20’s Emerging Benchmarks mobile exhibit and prototyping platform, where management education FOR the world can be prototyped, demonstrated and shared during RIO+20.
  • Furniture Craftsman
  • City / Country: Cape Town, South Africa
  • In Collaboration with: Charles John Lewis, Stencil Artist
  • Website:

Image Gallery of Work in Progress and Concepts

Bench Design & Materials

My concept for the bench is to use reclaimed wine barrel staves and very simple construction to take a sturdy yet collapsible bench. The materials will be oak barrel staves, stone pine supports, mild steel flat bar and galvanised bolts. With the bench being seen at an international conference, my main concern is that the design be locally relevant, showing something that clearly shows its origins as coming from South Africa. Working with a local graphic artist I hope to incorporate a layer of collaged graphics, showing images relevant to South Africa and business or corporate culture. The brief to the artist is to create an additional layer of information on the bench surface, taking cues from the shapes found in the barrel staves and creating graphic interest from a variety of visual distances.

Design Philosophy and Biography

 “In a world full of things designed to be used once and thrown away, we picture a different life-cycle for the furniture we design and produce. Using alien timber species, reclaimed glass and other ‘waste’ materials, and assembled using no nails and no glue, our furniture takes a no-compromise approach to sustainable principles. The ethic of design for dis-assembly, or ‘cradle to cradle’ design, means the materials which make up our pieces are able to live through constant cycles of use and adaptation, without down-cycling or effectively meeting their end. Think of it as a round-about, rather than a cul-de-sac.”

Cameron’s background in green architecture has fostered a focus on materials and how each piece is put together, combining for a ‘life-cycle’ view. This instilled the idea that material efficiency, from which nothing further can be taken away, can achieve an inherent elegance and beauty.