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Furniture design

Slender yet solid, simple yet striking — Zarate Manila’s Cheque Bench

Designed to withstand outdoor conditions whilst also blending seamlessly with any interior space, the Cheque Bench combines wood and metal to create a contemporary and colourful seating solution.

“I wanted a fusion between artificial and natural resources,” says Jim Zarate Torres, the brand’s creative director who designed the chair.

“With a contemporary aesthetic in mind, I used vibrant colours and finishes to achieve lightness and excitement.

Cheque is designed to be an accent piece and an elegant solution for texturing interior spaces.”

© Zarate Manila

The Cheque Bench is available in shades of mint and orange accentuated with oakwood edges.

Meanwhile, a powder coated steel and polyurethane coating finish gives the bench its industrial character.

Alternating squares of different layers mimic a chequered motif, hence the name of the project.

There are three different versions and with customizable sizes and proportions:

  • the standard bench
  • bench with armrest
  • and the Cheque curved bench
Cheque bench by Zarate Manila
© Zarate Manila

“It took us months of product development, trial and error, and testing to be able to achieve the well-executed design patterns,” Torres shares.

“It also required us to train our artisans on the technicalities needed for the design—for example: welding points, terminations, etc. Our goal—as always—was to present some interesting details but in a very subtle way.

© Zarate Manila

I think that’s what makes us different as a brand.

The techniques and designs are presented in the simplest forms possible but when you look closely on construction, our approach to material manipulation with metal is non-traditional.”

Cheque Bench: a mastery of metal

The Zarate Manila brand has made a name for itself marrying traditional techniques with a contemporary, imaginative and vibrant aesthetic, which the Cheque Bench encapsulates so well.

Most recently, the design was included in the September 2021 Best of MOM (Maison & Objet and More, the French trade fair’s digital platform) special exhibition.

Cheque bench by Zarate Manila
© Zarate Manila

“I am happy and grateful about the selection but to be completely honest, I was not surprised that it would get the recognition,” Torres says.

“As a designer, I always evaluate my works—as truthfully and objectively as I can—and Cheque is something that I am very satisfied with and proud of.”

“I feel like the Cheque translated all the design aspects that I wanted to tell in a narrative.

The Filipino touch is present; it is functional and uncompromised, contemporary and globally appealing.

The idea is new and not ‘flashy,’ and it has the right balance of design and arts—all these were subtly rendered into one single object.”

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