If progress is about improving on a classic, then Los Angeles designer Gaurav Nanda has succeeded with his collection of chairs under the Bend banner. When it comes to pretty much every wire chair on the market, sitting has its limits—even among the standard bearer of them all, the metal rod chairs by Harry Bertoia for Knoll Studio, still a Midcentury modern classic after all these years. The wires on Bend chairs are spaced less than a quarter-inch apart, making these chairs a pleasure to sit on.
Each piece is machine-molded and undergoes upwards of 400 handmade spot-welds—a process Gaurav refers to as “bending.” Each bend is carefully arranged to ensure structural strength, while the angles of the back, the curves of the seat, and the closeness of the wires are designed to encourage relaxation, comfort and utility. Gaurav, who grew up in the Detroit suburbs and even spent part of his design career at General Motors, draws pattern inspiration from his childhood: the intricate macramé his mother made; string art Spirograph drawing sets. (He was also a part of the design and conception of Clocky with his sister Gauri).
What’s more, the collection is made of an iron that can be repeatedly recycled (something for your green heads), and all pieces are sandblasted, then pre-treated with anti-rust zinc primer and powder coated for extended life right in Gaurav’s L.A. studio.
- 29" h x 24" w x 15" d (73.7x61x38.1cm)
- Seat height: 18" (45.7cm)
Around the Bend is a bright and happy place to be when speaking of the cool iron wire furniture from Los Angeles' own Bend Goods. In true Southern Cali style, these corrosion-resistant pieces with their pop of powder-coat color can easily meander from indoors to outside. Sculptor, designer and entrepreneur Gaurav Nanda perfected the signature process he calls "bending"—shaping and spot welding the wire by hand—to achieve intricate patterns in Bend's furniture, lighting and accessories.
Michigan native Gaurav, formerly a designer for General Motors, values performance just as much as polish. The structural strength of each piece of furniture is contract grade, while the ergonomics and the spacing of the wires assure comfort and utility. Environmental impact is also a concern, and he envisions each piece as something built to last a lifetime, fabricated from the plentiful resource iron and sustainable woods. Though Gaurav's work draws on the legacy of modernist objects in wire, he wants "to offer something different, something edgier."
Of his brand Los-Angeles-based company Bend, founder Gaurav Nanda says he wanted "to offer something different, something edgier, a lot more intricate and comfortable" in the realm of wire furniture than the usually-admired but heritage Bertoia designs for Knoll. For inspiration Gaurav looked to an unlikely combination of sources: his own stint as an automobile sculptor/designer for General Motors on the one hand and an appreciation of 1970s-influenced crafts, including string art and the knotted patterns of macramé plant holders made by his mother, on the other.
Gaurav's attention to the production process is unstinting—for example, each chair undergoes 300 to 400 handmade spot-welds (a process called "bending," hence the company name) and is painstakingly sandblasted, rustproofed and powder-coated to a weatherproof finish. Expanding his range beyond furniture to decorative objects was a natural progression. "Inspiration comes from everywhere but music plays a crucial role in my process. New songs and artists are constantly playing in the workshop, which makes for a lively and happier work environment too," he says. "It is exciting to see our ideas evolve and where we want our story to go."