by P. Gaye Tapp
photographs by Juli Leonard
If you happen to be a Spider-Man fan, you may have spotted a pair of stylish benches with a primeval flair making their motion picture debut in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Made by Raleigh furniture designer Ryan Dart, there’s no denying the benches have star power beyond the silver screen, as well: Dart’s first foray at the High Point furniture market last fall resulted in orders for these Quarry benches from boutique stores on the West Coast.
Using innovative techniques and precision machinery, Dart’s modern collection of occasional tables and benches are practical but eye-catching. He describes his collection as “functional art.”
He makes the cutting-edge furniture at his workspace called bones-studio in Raleigh, where he moved to in 2013 with his wife Holly, a City of Oaks native (and Wake Forest-Rolesville High School 2000 homecoming queen). Dart, 39, has a degree in industrial design from Brigham Young University, and makes sure each piece created in his Oakwood workshop is more than technically precise. Each must also pass Holly’s “personal appeal test” and undergo kid-testing by the Dart’s four children.
This spring, bones-studio will expand its Quarry collection with a coffee table and chair. Dart is also designing a collection of occasional furniture for CaraGreen, a sustainable products company.
“I grew up in Vernal, a very small town in Utah that sits high in the Rocky Mountains on the Utah-Colorado border. The area in which the town sits is a geological wonderland. The Dinosaur National Monument is a mountain packed with almost all the dinosaurs from the late Jurassic period. There are complete T-Rexes and Supersauruses excavated from that spot. The Quarry bench was inspired by the visuals of this place. I envisioned a scientist chiseling away at the layered rock and uncovering a never-seen-before creature – that is Quarry.”
Dart cites modern furniture designer Milo Baughman, who believed that good modern design “has already proven to be the most enduring, timeless, and classic of all design movements,” and industrial designer Marc Newson as influences. Dart also says his mother instilled a love of art that influences his designs.
All of Dart’s designs, which he describes as “organic modern,” start with sketches that are CAD-prototyped for precision and uniformity, and then manufactured in-house from metals, brass, aluminum, acrylic, marine-grade Baltic birch, fibreboard known as MDF, oak, locally sourced walnut, and fiberglass.
Named for elements from the earth and nature, many of Dart’s tables and benches can be custom-finished in hybrid lacquers from Benjamin Moore paint colors.