When Aaron Jones searched the market for a heated outdoor bench for a client, he came up cold. So he did what any self-respecting designer would do — he made one himself. Jones now sells a line of high-end, modern, heated outdoor benches through his San Francisco-based design and fabrication studio Galanter & Jones.
Jones, who studied architecture and regional planning at the University of Arizona, never considered his one-off custom design work as a full-time career before founding Galanter & Jones. “I’ve done a lot of different things, but I’ve never been a professional designer,” he says. “I’m more of an inventor.”
He works in partnership with his sister Miranda Jones, who manages marketing for the four-month-old company.
The Helios Lounge, the first offering in the collection, was launched last June at the Dwell on Design expo in Los Angeles, where it drew attention from interior designers and other design professionals. The 7’ 10’’ long x 2’11’’ wide bench is made of of ¾’’-thick fiber-reinforced, high-performance cast concrete and metal powdercoated steel tube legs. The special concrete pours smoothly with very few visible pores.
“It doesn’t even look like concrete, it looks more like polished stone.” The bench seat comes standard in five fully integrated colors, including light and dark gray, white, dark brown, and orange. While beautiful enough to stand on looks alone, Helios presents an entirely new approach to keeping warm outdoors. After it’s plugged in and turned on, an internal thermostat’s set to the desired temperature, which shuts off automatically when the temperature has been reached.
The bench draws only 12.5 amps, about as much power as a hair dryer. “What makes it most efficient is that you can transfer a lot of heat to your body without a lot of heat loss,” says Jones. “It’s kind of like sitting in a hot tub. It warms your blood up.” Helios has an eight-week lead-time and comes with a three-year warranty.
While all of the components of the bench are currently made within the Bay Area (with the exception of the switch), the entire manufacturing process soon will be under one roof in San Francisco. Although most of his customers so far are interior designers buying for residential clients, Jones senses there is a bigger market for the seat, which sells at the high-end at $4,900.
“I’m starting to get my first commercial orders. That’s where I see most of this business going, into hospitality or commercial type properties.” Based on the success of the first model, he hopes to add at least one or two more options in the line by the end of the year. For more information on Galanter and Jones, go to http://www.galanterandjones.com.
All photography by Laure Joliet
Top Image: Aaron Jones sitting on the white Helios Lounge.
This post first appeared on Architects+Artisans, a blog about architecture, artisanship, and sustainability, where I am a contributor.