Paul Smith & Nathalie de Leval
Designer, Sir Paul Smith requested a shed from bespoke furniture designer, Nathalie de Leval – a place where he could switch off and relax.
At 3m by 3m it is the same size as Paul’s first ever shop in Nottingham and was most definitely the largest of the Wish List projects. Its minimal design gave us significant making challenges as the combination of fully glazed Crittall gable, no rafters, single skin and a 360 degree rotating base meant that that there were no options for triangulation to make the structure stable and solid. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that the shed needed to be transportable and therefore able to be taken apart, With any movement potentially cracking the glazing, developing a rigid base was absolutely key with the solution being to develop a tortion box structure.
Thermally modified timber (TMT) was chosen for this project – a new material and technology for Benchmark. Highly stable (a very important factor given the extreme temperatures that the shed might face) and much more brittle than standard ash, it gives off a black dust rather than shavings or sawdust, which required a different approach. We’re unsure yet as to how it will colour – whether it will eventually go grey or maintain its lovely toasty brown colour.
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Our well considered and beautifully made furniture collection is crafted in our own workshops from sustainably sourced timber.
Since the 1980's we have enjoyed working with many of the world's top architects and designers on a range of projects, fitting and furnishing offices, hotels, bars, restaurants and public buildings.
Craftsmanship is at the heart of Benchmark and unites us as a company. We are a team of craftspeople who care deeply about what we make.
Benchmark is a really sustainable business and always has been. It is not just about material sourcing or energy conservation - it is about everything we do.