As architects and designers, our work comes in many forms. Sometimes, we’re called upon to design a space from top-to-bottom and from furnishings to the last stick of furniture. Other times, we’re hired to design a specific furnishing that complements an existing design. Such was the case for Matthias Pliessnig when he was commissioned in collaboration with Rawn Architects of Boston to design two large benches for Tata Hall, the newest building at Harvard Business School.

Designing furniture for a specific space is an interesting task because the objects need to complement the existing building, but they also needs to stand on their own as functional pieces of furniture. This is most certainly true in academic furniture design where the pieces will be used by the public. In this case, the two sweeping benches (named Eurus and Sinuo) complement the sweeping arc of the Tata Hall building as well as the interior natural wood accents.

Eurus and Sinuo

Eurus and Sinuo. Source:


We do wonder, however, where we would set our laptop, a cup of coffee or the numerous other items that are often in tow when one is walking around or waiting for friends and/or colleagues on a university campus. When we designed academic seating for Claire T. Carney Library at UMass Dartmouth, we made sure the bench-like seating could accommodate both the sitters and their “stuff,” which is a smart way to go when designing for the student and professor sector.

U Mass Dartmouth- Claire T. Carney Library. Designed by LS&A Architecture and Interiors

U Mass Dartmouth- Claire T. Carney Library. Designed by LS&A Architecture and Interiors

We love to incorporate art into architecture, so these sculptural benches really make the space come alive. The sculptural wall piece behind the bench was done by a student when the school had a textile department. The color and design helps the concrete building feel lively.

It seems that wherever there’s public seating, there should be comfortable places to “put things.” Are you in the market for thoughtful academic furniture design? Schedule an appointment to speak with Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors.