Main Project Aesthetic Plans and Alternatives: Retro Ski Bench

For my main project I am planning to create a retro ski bench. I am planning on building the bench out of steel sourced from a local steel manufacturer, and old skinny retro skis from Facebook marketplace. The skis will be attached to the steel supports using fasteners. The design will have pivoting cupholders, that can be hidden away when not in use.

[1] Dynamic cupholders drawing

The aesthetic I am going for on this project is Retro Skiing. This aesthetic emerged in the 80s when the ski industry invested more into ski equipment, lifts, and resorts. This caused an influx of new skiers wearing vibrant, more expressive ski gear. Due to this gear’s emergence in the 80s, its colors mainly consisted of vibrant neon colors. The emergence of competition free skiing during this time also helped develop this aesthetic. Competitive free skiing made free skiing more mainstream, and made the sport overall more loose and entertainment oriented. The Retro Ski aesthetic is characterized by vibrant colors and loose, creative skiing.

[2] Snowbird ad from the 80s

The current design of my ski bench is in the Retro Skiing aesthetic. This design tries to hide the steel supports and only uses the steel for function. This allows the characteristics of the retro, skinny ski to fully show and make the piece centered around their design. The shape and feel of the skis are not meant to be hidden in this design, so they will not be cut or reshaped in any way. This allows the piece to be centered around the retro colors and shape of the ski, and for the viewer to appreciate the vibrant colors and designs on the bottom of the ski. This design highlights the vibrant neon colors of the aesthetic.

[3] Retro Skiing design aesthetic

Although I have decided to pursue the Retro Skiing Aesthetic, I am going to ideate my ski bench in two other aesthetics. The two aesthetics I will being redesigning my bench for will be minimalism and industrialism.

The pivoting cupholders can remain the same for any aesthetic, as they are more for function than aesthetic.

First I will explore the minimalism aesthetic. I created a design with clean lines, no clutter, and using only white as a calm neutral color. This design has a much more calm and quiet look than the Retro Skiing aesthetic. I would implement this design by cutting the skis down to board like pieces, and painting the bases all white.

[4] Minimalism aesthetic design alternative

Second I will explore the industrialism aesthetic. This aesthetic uses industrial materials that might be found in a factory, such as steel and fasteners. For this aesthetic I created a design that shows the skis but also emphasizes the shape and colors of the metal used for the supports. The design has a backrest that displays more of the steel supports, which gives the bench a more industrial and rustic feel, while still incorporating skis.

[5] Industrialism aesthetic design alternative

After ideating the ski bench’s design in these two new aesthetics, I still like the Retro Skiing aesthetic design the most. However, it is interesting and helpful to sketch the bench in these designs to view the project from a different light, and gather new ideas for the aesthetic I am pursuing.




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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Ari Matrajt Frid
    March 10, 2024 5:28 pm

    Hi Duncan, I like your idea for this project and think it will look very cool once it’s finished. Do you know where how many skis you’ll need to complete the bench?

    • Hi Ari, thanks for reading my post. I anticipate needing about 5-6 pairs of skis to complete the bench.

  • Barrett Lister
    March 10, 2024 3:56 pm

    The retro ski aesthetic is iconic! Lots of ski clothing and gear today is one or two tone, both usually darker, natural colors. Ski culture emerged in the 80’s and your connection between the two is a good explanation as to why retro skiing was so neon colored.
    Looking at your second possible aesthetic of the ski bench, industrialism, visually reminds me of how a chair lift looks. Could possibly be cool extension of the project?

    • Hi Barret, thank you for reading my post and I’m glad you enjoy the aesthetic. That’s a cool thought about the chair lift idea, and I agree that design does resemble a chair lift. Researching for this project I have seen pictures of refurbished chair lift benches, so maybe I will give it a try if this bench turns out well.


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