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Log Bench

Part of a series of photos and texts that was published as The Good Life in 2014.

Nobody would describe this bench as good looking, yet it has a certain charm, and maybe charm is more important than looks. The bench was outside a railway station restaurant in the Japanese countryside. From a design point of view there’s plenty to admire. It exhibits a determined conceptual rigour, as if its maker said to himself “I’ll make this bench from a single log of wood 1.5 metres long, without using any screws, and it will be strong enough for an elephant and heavy enough to survive a typhoon.” The structure has been planned to make the most of a few basic cuts, so the flat sides are used for the seat (for comfort) and the base (for stability). Its character is cheerful and welcoming and it has obviously earned its place between the beer crates and the folding chair. The world could use more of the spirit of do-it-yourself projects like this one.