Building an Heirloom at Fulcrum Coffee

Gary 2

Gary wears a blue canvas apron as he chisels at a piece of ash. His workspace is a converted brick-wall warehouse in the SoDo district of Seattle. Light comes in from small windows at the top of the wall.

Remove the modern machinery that hums around him and you have a portrait as old as civilization: a man crafting wood with his hands. The ash wood will become something practical with aesthetic value.

The Memo bench is ideal for intimate spaces (like a coffee shop)

Gary designed and built the Memo bench primarily for use in the Fulcrum Coffee Roastery, a place that shares a space with the Memo & Co. workshop.

Gary calls the piece “an heirloom… it can be used forever. An heirloom isn’t always connected to rarity.” An heirloom is often a practical, well-designed daily object that can stay in families and endure for generations.

The Memo bench doesn’t “cry out”—it isn’t supposed to be its own focus as an object. It has a simple rectilinear structure, with an “apron” and a bench top. The design is based off a classic English “Nicholson” woodworking bench that has been in use for hundreds of years. No flash. No drama. Beauty through minimalist practicality.

Ashwood is machined into a perfect 2×4 leg structure. Mortise and tenon joints further reinforce its utilitarian nature.

The bench is modular, easy to move and arrange.  There’s a versatility in how you can use it, create a space.  It can stand alone or it can be grouped with other Memo benches to create rows (as in church pews) for an event.  Or they can be placed end-to-end in one long, unbroken row. The individual or group can take control and shape their environment or conversation easily.

The Memo Bench is ideal for intimate spaces (like a coffee shop) or even a larger venue like the converted warehouse that makes the Fulcrum Coffee Roastery.  The bench is a perfect platform to place upholstered cushions, dramatically injecting a given space with color, wonder, and beauty.

The Memo Bench, an heirloom, goes past being dated: it can be enjoyed for a lifetime.


Memo creates