The grandeur and pageantry of formal dinners have faded from modern landscapes as much as the detachable starched collar – so has the prevalence of gratuitous dining arrangements in the compact urban homes of our present age. Given the space most of us get to work with, our common dining arrangements have evolved to facilitate more casual meals in the interest of limiting footprints and conserving space: with a bench taking up the same amount of floor space as – if not less than, several dining chairs. If you’ve come across our pointers on how to set up a compact or minimalist dining space, you may be interested in going through the various ways one can assemble casual bench seating or restaurant style banquette arrangements.
A banquette arrangement surrounded by walls in pastel blue and floors decked in wood immediately evokes imagery of countryside skylines. The classical rendering of a dining space from rural environments is reinforced by the decorative trim lining the base of the banquette seating and the intricate motifs sewn into the fabric of the cushions. The accompanying chairs are composed from frames of wood in a shade matching the floor, and a dining table with a single plinth instead of multiple legs is selected – so as not to detract from the ornate decorative features of the banquette’s base.
With a bench bearing the same design and composed of the same materials as the dining surface it accompanies, the result is a cohesive arrangement that does more to maintain a sense of space. The pictured arrangement is placed over a simplistic weaved textile rug and furnished by rustic constructions of darkly lacquered wood. The individual pieces of wood are joined in the fashion of traditional carpentry – with both hidden and overt varieties of the common mortise and tenon joints, while the frames are bound by reinforcing bars that are held in tension with industrial coupling attachments of vintage origin.
The intermingling of classical and rustic vibes in this dining space is the very definition of Provençal style – with a coffered ceiling and ornate decorative plaster trim on the surrounding whitewashed walls. The furnishings are composed of visibly aged wood and upholstered with simplistic fabrics, with the bench constructed out of the same materials and bearing the same rustic design of the through mortise and tenon joints as seen in the legs of the dining surface. The incorporation of a quintessential stone planter bowl decorated with lion heads, and the pair of cyclopean chandeliers – vintage metal chandeliers encased in metal rings appropriated from wine barrels, further reinforce the Provençal ancestry of the décor.
The pictured dining arrangement evokes imagery of the European countryside with seat cushions upholstered in a deep blue fabric bearing geometric motifs in white to match the surrounding walls. The accompanying furnishings are deliberately selected for their space-saving designs: Eero Saarinen’s 78-inch diameter Oval seats up to eight diners, while its robust cast-moulded aluminium base minimises the expected clutter of table legs against the scant floor space. The accompanying chairs are the DSW variation of the Eames duo’s moulded polypropylene shell from the 1950s, mounted on the Scandinavian reinterpretation of the iconic Eiffel Tower legs seen in the DSR original. Punctuating this space when lit but camouflaged against the background when not needed, is the lighting fixture known as “PH 4/3” – a Poul Henningsen creation based on his famed Artichoke.
A vintage banquette assembly, subtly speaking in minimalist tones of the kind of décor associated with the American Prohibition era, is composed out of velvet capitoné upholstery in drab olive. The shade of the bench cushions is complemented by a regal slab of serpentine marble bearing serene swirls of white against a background of dusky green. The table’s box steel legs of minimalist design are contrasted in monochromatic fashion against the polished tubular steel frames of the accompanying chairs – the Cesca variation of Mart Stam’s iconic S33 cantilever chairs from 1927, with hand-woven cane weave inserts added by Marcel Breuer in 1928.
Article by Kevin Eichenberger