“My chairs are always pared down to the minimum—no tricks, nothing clever… I have no interest in making chairs look like baseball gloves or hands….” Pointed questions such as, “Does it allow the user to find his or her own perfect pitch?” and “Is it easy and safe to get in and out? “ are among those behind Ward Bennett’s trademark minimalism. His attention to key factors of comfort and functionality are the backbone— pun intended—behind his minimalist style that consistently answered those ergonomic questions.
Bennett’s work with Dr Janet Travell, who worked with President John F. Kennedy, led him to acknowledge a need for chairs that work in tandem with the human skeleton rather that forcing it to conform to design aesthetics. “ Dr. Travell taught me how to sit and what to look for in a chair,” said Bennett when discussing his own back injury and subsequent design philosophy.
Forever an icon, Bennett’s uniform of all black attire and full beard were not his only idiosyncratic habits. Bennett worked with only one assistant and did so mainly from his own home, keeping with his ideology of keeping his designs pared down. Surely his design philosophy mirrored his life.