2014 AZ Awards Winner: Best Furniture Design

2014 AZ Awards Winner: Best Furniture Design

Vancouver’s Niels Bendtsen reinvents the tub chair with his elegant and vibrant U Turn Chair.

What more can be done to the tub chair? Quite a lot, if you are Niels Bendtsen, chief designer and owner of Bensen, one of North America’s leading furniture manufacturers. Since 1981, he has brought his Danish sensibility for refined craftsmanship and his Canadian pragmatism to every piece of furniture that bears his “other Bensen” name. U Turn is no different, yet its tulip shape, which allows sitters to tuck in their feet when getting up, also gives the chair a leaner, cleaner, taller profile that takes any swivel chair stumpiness out of the equation.

Mechanically, U Turn borrows from the auto industry for its smooth 360‑degree rotation; the steel frame and elastic suspension are held within a custom mould injected with liquid foam to create a supportive yet flexible seat. As with all Bensen products, attention to detail is no small matter, and precision tailoring can be seen in the flat-fell seams of the slipcovers, which come in a range of hues and fabrics, including leather and wool.

It is often said that the best songs are the ones that seem familiar the first time you hear them. U Turn is just like that: its form resembles what has come before, but there is a confidence, too, in the finely tuned adjustments that make this archetype altogether new.

About the designer: Niels Bendtsen is one of those rare creative talents with a head for business. The owner and chief designer of the furniture and accessories brand Bensen also crafts pieces for such leading manufacturers as Poliform, Montis and Linteloo. bensen.ca

What the jury said: “I’ve seen a lot of furniture that is over-exaggerated and over-animated. U Turn is just the opposite. It has phenomenal proportioning and style that will stand the test of time.” – Diego Burdi, juror

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