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Exhibits currently on display

Cheek-to-Cheek Bench

Artist: Carl Bass

Industry: Art

Tradition meets modern lines in this sleek, hand-carved seat

The bench’s unique style blends the spirit of traditional sculpture with modern 3D design, modeling, analysis, and visualization techniques.

Conceptual design

Inspired by the smooth curves of an African headrest, the bench design gradually evolved from the more traditional squaring of woodwork to the sculpted curves possible with stone. Digital technology provided greater control over the shape and inspired further iterations.

Design iteration

Using Inventor software and a combination of other tools, Bass took his design through several iterations before arriving at this seamless, sweeping shape. Each iteration was evaluated, modified, and refined through extensive surface and shape modeling.

Performance simulation

Finite element analysis (FEA) revealed significant stress points on the inside tip of each leg, which Bass mitigated through small modifications to the leg design. To ensure that the elegant surface was also suitable for seating, FEA was used to emulate load stress of a seated person.

Design development

To achieve a smoother, sweeping transition between the bench legs and seat, the Cheek-to-Cheek Bench was modeled with particular attention to multisurface continuity and integrity.


Visualized using Showcase software for high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) and rendering, the final bench design was digitally placed within its future context of the Autodesk Gallery.


Using a print of the bench’s overall dimensions, an image rendered with Showcase, and a 3D print of a bench section, the Dingli Stone Carving Company of China’s Fujian Province used old-fashioned, hands-on stone carving to create the full-sized design in granite. Although it is possible to carve stone with computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines, nothing equals the dexterity of the human hand when sculpting complex shapes and interior forms.