Gensler is a leading global architecture, design, planning and strategic consulting firm. Their office in Dallas, Texas contacted Benchmark Furniture in October 2012 after reviewing the company’s website and invited them to submit proposals for supplying Wales & Wales Norfolk benches. These were to be sited in the gardens of Fountain Place, a landmark office building in the centre of Dallas.
The brief included bench configurations both with and without backrests and armrests, plus matching tables. It was a particular requirement that all furniture needed to be freestanding.
Communication would need to take place late in the evening due to the time difference.
A complex specification and order process led to around 400 emails being exchanged with Gensler and procuring agent Workplace Resource Group.
The Norfolk range was adapted to suit Gensler's requirements which involved changing the leg profile and supplying with adjustable stainless steel feet which would allow the benches to be freestanding and reconfigurable.
In the UK, bench timbers are generally unfinished and weather naturally to silver grey. The US market demands a different approach with the client preferring the timber to be darkened and sealed. Several Sikkens timber finishing products were tested and a stain / lacquer selected.
The benches were constructed in FSC iroko hardwood with legs cast in aluminium and then powder coated. Smaller components such as adjustable feet were made from stainless steel.
With a client 4757 miles away, agreeing a lacquer colour for the timber was not straightforward, and relying on computer images would not be sufficient. Benchmark was keen to ensure the client knew the exact finish so a sample bench was air-freighted to Dallas, followed by batches of timber samples, before the final colour was agreed.
Complementary outdoor tables were developed by Rod & Ali Wales and Benchmark's design office.
To improve durability and aesthetic appeal the client decided to use table tops that were encapsulated in patinated zinc sheet, a production process that is a particular speciality of the craftsmen at Benchmark Furniture.
The consignment was packed into a 20-foot container by Benchmark and a furniture shipping agent contracted to handle the shipping, customs clearance and local handling.
The manufacture of the furniture went smoothly with the various components coming together on schedule. The consignment arrived in Dallas 31 days after dispatch and the project was completed in mid-May 2013.