Allison and I were discussing benches over dinner one night. "What about a curved bench," I asked. "Meh." "What, then?" "I don't know. It should be nice. And straight."
I had picture in my brain of two swoops, like eyebrows, or a really great mustache. Other than that, I really had no idea what the bench should look like. I knew I wanted to make it out of cypress (cypress being both local and rot-resistant), but other than that, I wasn't so sure...
After doing some extensive product testing (involving my favorite form of research - sitting down for a while), I found what I thought would work for seat height and width. I made a full-scale drawing (I usually just work from mockups) to see how the swoops of the two seat planks would relate to the curved supports, and how they in turn related to the rest of the bench.
Full scale mockup. I used thin plywood clamped to the supports to simulate what would eventually be the coopered seat panels.