George NakashimaConoid Bench
walnut and hickory
31 1/8 x 84 1/2 x 35 5/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Warren D. Brill
George Nakashima took the word "conoid" from the name of his studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania, which had a conical roof. He often based his pieces on the principle that form should follow the grain of the wood. Nakashima saw "imperfections" such as worm holes and cracks as beautiful. His bench consists of short legs that support a free-form plank from which turned spindles and a crest rail rise to form the back. The bench seems to exist in an uneasy space between furniture that is rustic and furniture refined over centuries. To the initiated, Nakashima's bench is sophisticated in its rusticity.