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West Elm launches low-cost versions of Bend wire furniture

March 19, 2013|By David A. Keeps

Guarav Nanda, the Los Angeles designer behind the Bend collection of brilliantly colored indoor-outdoor wire chairs you've probably seen in stores and restaurants across Southern California, has a bistro table and chair launching through West Elm on Tuesday for just $249 to $299 -- an attractive price for anyone who's been following Nanda's line.

We first discovered Bend in May 2011 -- at the time noting that the materials and production translated to prices ($450 to $495 per chair) that were on the high end. The new designs for West Elm are less expensive but also less intricate, with thicker wires spaced wider apart, Nanda said in an e-mail. "They were probably able to make them at a lower cost because of the fact that everything is finished overseas, and being a much bigger company they are able to get better pricing for manufacturing."

The West Elm pieces still have the Bend vibe that caught our eye and made Bend the outdoor chair winner in our 2011 feature defining the California look of the moment. As a former automotive designer, Nanda's signature is a fluid, graceful silhouette with geometric detailing that not only provides visual interest but also structural support.

"West Elm told me they love my work because it is simple," Nanda said, "yet has a very interesting ethnic feel because of the mix of the patterns."

Inspiration comes from everywhere: new music, which Nanda blasts in his Los Angeles design studio; the work of Buckminster Fuller, best known for his geodesic domes; director Wes Anderson; and Nanda's mother's handmade macramé plant-holders. "The patterns used in my work can also be traced to my Indian heritage," he said.

Last year, Nanda reinterpreted the taxidermy trend with a collection of wire trophy heads. Working with West Elm will bring Bend's designs to a larger audience at a more accessible price, Nanda said: "The goal is to redefine ideas from the past and create products that add charm and a bit of playfulness to the home." 

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