City Bench | Ted and Zeb Esselstyn

Higganum, CT

City Bench grew out of our passion for building beautiful objects with meaning and a story. It also grew out of a reverence for the trees that line our streets, fill our public spaces, and enliven our campuses. Those trees represent our shared space and generations of common stories—they are also a vital and overlooked resource.

There are over 70 billion trees in U.S. metropolitan areas. New Haven removes more than 600 trees each year, New York City fells 7,000, and hundreds of thousands more come down across the country. Most of these grand, historic trees are relegated to the landfill, ground into mulch, or chopped into firewood each year.

We extend the life left in those trees by building uniquely hand-crafted furniture that tells their stories. Community and connection to place are built into everything we create—whether that community is a big city, a small town, or a much-loved school. Our pieces have a “birth certificate” describing the tree’s origin, significance, and story. Our aim is to build a meaningful and lasting enterprise, which creates positive environmental and social change, and contributes to the vitality of the communities in which we operate.

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