When it comes to some of the more exciting developments in product design, oftentimes it comes down to simply looking at new ways of manipulating old materials rather than seeking out new ones.

Such is the case with ‘Tenderwood‘, an experimental new bench design from Taiwanese industrial designer YenHao Chu.

Using a combination of Japanese ash wood, sponge, and veneer, Chu has effectively created a bench that looks like it was made entirely from carved wood, but includes a discreetly built-in sponge cushion in the seat hidden by a matching layer of veneer.

“Wooden chairs are usually elegant and neat; however, it is difficult to sit on them for too long,” explains the designer. “Therefore, a cushion is always placed on the chair. What if a wooden chair became soft but still kept the aesthetic of wood? After several experiments, I found a way to achieve this. With the combination of 3D pressed flexible wood veneer and soft foam, the sitting surface provides subtle softness.”








Be sure to check out the rest of Chu’s fascinating experiments with wood over at yhcpresent.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.