In a bid to bring the beauty of nature indoors, furniture designers Benoit Vauthier and Manu Lerendu create one-of-a-kind tables that pay homage to the breathtaking landscapes of America and Europe. Using traditional sculpting tools, they transform wooden surfaces into sculptural, relief table tops that look like little mountain ranges.
In 2012, Vauthier and Lerendu met on the benches of the Quebec Cabinetmaking Institute and hit it off right away. Over the next three years, they began collaborating on a number of design projects, and went on to win several awards and scholarships. Based on their success, they decided to officially join forces to establish their brand, Ben & Manu. Before returning to their native France, they embarked on a massive 13,000 km (about 8,078 miles) road trip through the U.S., where they fell in love with the canyons and mountainscapes of the great outdoors. They began sketching furniture designs based on them, which later became the blue prints for what they’re known for today.
In 2015, Vauthier and Lerendu set up a woodworking studio in the idyllic mountain ranges of Vosges in France. There, they hand-carve their relief works from locally sourced wood, including oak, ash, sycamore, and walnut. Each piece looks like a miniature mountainscape, allowing users to be transported to another world while enjoying a cup of coffee at home.
Although Vauthier and Lerendu are influenced by their travels and experiences in nature, they don’t create works based on a specific place. “The landscapes represented are imaginary,” they explain. “The composition is created according to the piece of furniture.” The designers add, “The key is to find the right balance between aesthetics, art, and ergonomics. On our relief coffee table, there is a place to put your cup down, and a place to look at.”
Check out the beautiful tables by Ben & Manu below and find more of the designers’ work on their website.