Serendipitous timing and a keen eye for structure and functionality allowed Ward Bennett a career that affected nearly every discipline of design. Leaving formal education behind at a mere 13- years old, Bennett started in fashion, where he sold sketches of his bridal designs. Chance encounters opened many doors: A conversation with a Bloomingdales executive, for example, resulted in Bennett designing tableware and flatware for the Japanese company Sasaki. And a small apartment renovation connected Bennett with one of his most iconic interior design projects, the headquarters of Chase Manhattan Bank.
Ward Bennett is perhaps best known for his iconic Scissor chair and the curved- back feature of many of his chair designs. Bennett had a keen interest in comfort and functionality, due in part to back injury from a skiing accident. Working with two doctors, Bennett identified the perfect pitch, the ideal angle between the slant of the chair’s back and its seat. Replicated time and again, the pitch became an enduring component of his designs. “Although my reputation rests on designs paired down to the simplest denominator,” said Bennett, “my success comes not from design originality, but from the concept of comfort.”