Synopsis: Start with some big blocks of ice. Watch them melt. Then create your furniture design. A look at the work of Mette Bentzen and Lasse Kristensen.
If you intend to build furniture inspired by the forms and features of melting ice, one way to proceed is to obtain huge blocks of ice from a nearby fish warehouse, put them in an iron basin you build in your woodshop, and watch them turn to water. Mette Bentzen and Lasse Kristensen, life and work partners in Elsinore, Denmark, who met building Hans Wegner chairs at the storied PP Mobler shop in Copenhagen, did just that. They watched, drew, and photographed, learning all they could as the blocks shrank, and then began building a series of stack-laminated tables and stools in Danish ash, selecting stock that had been steamed to give it a ghostly whiteness. Depending on the size and shape, some of their pieces are monolithic, others hollow. All are shaped first with angle grinders and power sanders, chisels, rasps, and files, before being extensively hand-sanded using an array of customized sanding blocks. The hand-sanding, Kristensen says, absorbs 70% of the time in each piece, and is essential to attain the silky surfaces and clarified contours they seek in these homages to Nordic winter in a warming world.