The Okanagan Rail Trail Committee (ORTC) is an interjurisdictional group tasked with managing a 50km biking and walking trail with a rich history in British Columbia, Canada: The Okanagan Rail Trail.
They have membership from City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, Regional District of the North Okanagan, Okanagan Indian Band, District of Lake Country and the City of Kelowna.
In early 2019, Wishbone was invited to work with the Landscape architects and designers from Bench Site Design in Kelowna BC to develop and deliver the seating required for the project. It just so happened that these communities had some consistency already in that they all had existing Wishbone furniture in different applications.
The challenges were two-fold: what they were looking for wasn’t in our current product selection, and the material choices they were considering the structure and seating surface were also up for debate.
Ultimately, they were looking for something that had some very unique elements. Although we didn’t quite have the matching product they were envisioning, we were happy to accommodate the custom request in two ways.
So firstly we engaged in a design process that made it as easy as possible to come up with a new product that met the project’s needs by morphing two product lines that we were already working on: the Skyline Curved Bench and the Makenzie Modular Bench. The Skyline design would incorporate the curves, and the Mackenzie design would provide the CNC-customizable leg-ends that would be used to tell a story through images. The leg end “canvas” can be used to tell any story through images using our sophisticated CNC-routering technique that delivers inlayed designs, motifs, and logos with multiple colours.
Secondly, after settling on Wishbone’s super durable powder coated aluminum frames, the stakeholders insisted on a non-plastic seating material.
Creatively, we were able to satisfy the customer requesting an alternate seating material by working with the Landscape Architect to have others supply & secure the planks. This required precise coordination to ensure a successful integration & installation of materials. The final choice was Accoya – a sustainable, high-performance modified wood product. We think the finished pieces look stunning.
This entire project is the epitome of being able to combine the aspirations and the needs of the client and stakeholders with our manufacturing capabilities and merge them together into a unified story.
As with all types of custom projects that involve a key designer or architect we give them the opportunity to actually name the resultant product. Credit goes to Keith Nyhof at Bench Site Design for providing the excellent name: “Story Bench”
Hence the name of this bench which symbolizes two things – the story of the design of the bench and the platform to enhance and communicate the story of the ORT via the site furniture at the interpretive sites along the trail.