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Bart Nijssen

IM Masters Design Academy Eindhoven

DESIGN IN TIMES OF CRISIS, REVISITED.

research: catalog of details


Graduation Project Jan. - Jun. 2010

DESIGN IN TIMES OF CRISIS, REVISITED. research: catalog of details

Bart Nijssen

IM Masters Design Academy Eindhoven May 2010 www.bartnijssen.com


Index Introduction

3

1. Goal and Categorization

4

2. Selection of Chairs

6

3. Catalog of Details

18

4. Conclusion

38


Introduction This small book reports on a part of my graduation project “Design in Times of Crisis, Revisited” at the IM Masters, Design Academy Eindhoven, the Netherlands. While researching several topics dealing with design related to crises, I tried to figure out what the influence of ‘cost-reduction’ was on the decision making process, looking for the traces of ‘scarcity design’. Numerous decisions within the design process (mostly concerning the actual production process) can be led back to their original motivations. Most of these original motivations can be reflected upon while looking at the overall design of an object, but more specifically on the details of an object. When diving in the details of the object we daily use, we can learn a lot about the ‘intentions’ in the design. How much attention was put in the finishing of a product, how do certain connections have influence on the comfort of the object etc? All these small details together determine how we perceive and how we use an object.

In this part of the research I try to setup a system, a method, for analyzing specific product details and categorize and rate them on what influence they have on the perception, use, comfort, price of the final product. This so-called Catalog of Details could be very extensive and contain numerous examples, for now it should be seen as an introductory version. Further on in this book I will emphasize on the goal of such a catalog, how I categorized and rated all the details presented here. Finally I conclude this small book with a direction for the future, where a system for evaluating design details can form an opensource database/community May 2010 Bart Nijssen

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Chapter 1

Goal and Categorization Goal

Categorization

The balance between cost-efficient production on the one hand and aesthetic refinement on the other hand is always present. In this project, part of the research went into looking for traces of this scarcity. If we can indicate why certain design decisions where made, we can better understand the motivations for the aesthetics of that specific product. The result of this investigation is the Catalog of Details. This is an extensive overview of different furniture designs categorized to what their details teach us.

First all the objects should be clearly represented in their full appearance guided by a description of the manufacturer, designer and year, to give it the right context. Next descriptive information on the materials used and the sizes of the object is presented. In this case the objects are chairs, since it’s a general used object through-out my whole research. Chair can be categorized in the following main sections, which are referred to in the second chapter;

A catalog like the one I present here can function as an overview of possibilities within a specific design or product requirement. Ultimately this catalog can function as a guide, where any designer can make a selection of details in design, to be applied into his own design, so it will consist out of the most optimized details conform his personal selection criteria; eco-impact; affordability; labour intensity; comfort-level and aesthetic appearance.

Cat. Description I

Upright chair without armrests

II

Upright chair with open armrests

III

Upright chair with enclosed armrests

IV

Easy chair without armrests

V

Easy chair with open armrests

VI

Easy chair with enclosed armrests

VII Stool


Further on in the catalog every single detail is represented by a photograph and is indexed according to the following characteristics;

Every single of these characteristics is explained by a rating, as follows:

Eco / Eco-impact Is the selected detail negative, neutral of positive in relation to the environment? Does is require extra materials, is there a lot of waste during production etc.

Price / Affordability Does the selected detail make the object in itself more expensive or more affordable? Is it a cheap solution or is production of this detail very costly.

going from -- (double minus) to ++ (double plus) with a neutral mark in between. By creating a visual overview together with a close-up picture of the detail, a clear catalog is created that communicates easily what the negative and positive characteristics of small details mean for the general interpretation of the object / product.

Labour intensity Is the featured detail very labour intense? Does it require a lot of time to produce, or is it very quick in assembly etc.

Comfort level Does the specific detail increase or decrease the comfort while using the object.

Aesthetics / appearance Is the detail a positive contribution to the aesthetics / appearance of the object? Or do some small details give the object in general a negative look.

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Chapter 2

Selection of Chairs For this Catalog of Details I selected a varied series of chair that were available at the studio of the Design Academy Masters. This first interpretation of the “Catalog of Details� consists only out of 10 different chairs. Evidently the idea is that a catalog like this should keep growing. Therefor this is a setup for a standard to index existing design into specific categories. In this version I only used chairs, since that was the focus object during the research phase. Actually any object could be part of this catalog. A diversion would be easy, because the details from furniture are very different from details from household appliances i.e. In this first part I will shortly sum up known information about the selected chairs and give a description of their main characteristics. Further on in this book their details will be mapped according to the set categories.


Case no. #01

Category: I Country of manufacture: Sweden Structure material: Powder coated steel Seat and back material: Polypropylene (PP) Manufacturer: Ikea Designer: Ola Hermansson Title: Herman First year of manufacturing: Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 45 / 50 / 78 / 44

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Chapter 2

Selection of Chairs

Case no. #02

Category: I Country of manufacture: The Netherlands Structure material: Painted steel Seat and back material: Lacquered Plywood Manufacturer: Stalachrome Designer: - (original design by Mart Stam) Title: First year of manufacturing: 1938 Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 40 / 39 / 85 / 45


Case no. #03

Category: II Country of manufacture: Structure material: Powdercoated steel Seat and back material: Tweet-covered foam, plastic strips Manufacturer: Designer: Title: First year of manufacturing: Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm):

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Chapter 2

Selection of Chairs

Case no. #04

Category: I Country of manufacture: the Netherlands Structure material: Powdercoated steel Seat and back material: Plywood Manufacturer: Ahrend Designer: Friso Kramer Title: Result First year of manufacturing: 1958 Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 41 /40 / 79 / 46


Case no. #05

Category: I Country of manufacture: Structure material: Powdercoated steel Seat and back material: Plywood Manufacturer: Designer: Title: First year of manufacturing: Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 44 / 43 / 80 / 46

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Chapter 2

Selection of Chairs

Case no. #06

Category: VII Country of manufacture: Sweden Structure material: Birch veneer Seat and back material: Birch veneer Manufacturer: Ikea Designer: Gillis Lundgren Title: Frosta First year of manufacturing: Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 35 / 35 / 45 / 45


Case no. #07

Category: I Country of manufacture: Structure material: Mass wood Seat and back material: Covered foam + wood Manufacturer: Designer: Title: First year of manufacturing: Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 43 / 41 / 82 / 46

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Chapter 2

Selection of Chairs

Case no. #08

Category: VII Country of manufacture: Structure material: Powdercoated steel Seat and back material: Plywood Manufacturer: Designer: Title: First year of manufacturing: Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 35 / 35 / 65 / 65


Case no. #09

Category: I Country of manufacture: Structure material: Chrome covered steel Seat and back material: Plastic covered foam + strip Manufacturer: Designer: Title: First year of manufacturing: Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 41 / 35 / 81 / 46

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Chapter 2

Selection of Chairs

Case no. #10

Category: I Country of manufacture: Structure material: Chrome covered steel Seat and back material: Plywood Manufacturer: Designer: Title: First year of manufacturing: Sizes (w * d * h * seat-h in cm): 50 / 41 / 85 / 45


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Chapter 3

Details

Connection: Tension locked plastic

Eco

Price

Labour

Information: Stamped production information

Comfort

Aesthetics

Finishing: Production marks on side and back

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: MIG welded steel connection

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour


Connection: Bolt + threaded tube

Eco

Price

Information: Paper label + stamped brand information

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Information: Material type stamp

Eco

Price

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Plastic (elastic) encaptured frame

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

page 19


Chapter 3

Details

Shape: Bend plywood backing

Eco

Price

Labour

Connection: Parker-screw with revet through wood

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Bolt + nut tapered through seating and frame

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Comfort

Aesthetics

Shape: Bend plywood seating

Eco

Price

Labour


Finishing: Closed frame tube by colored rubber cap.

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

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Chapter 3

Details

Connection: Parker-screw with through wood + metal frame

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: MIG welded frame enforcement

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Connection: MIG welded steel frame construction

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Flattened tube with screw

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour


Finishing: Covered connection

Eco

Price

Finishing / connection: Plastic covered tweet seating

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

page 23


Chapter 3

Details

Connection: Tapered pop-nail

Eco

Price

Shape: Curved seating with small pop-nails

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Bend steel backrest construction

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Backrest attachment with rubber layer

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics


Finishing: Rubber cap around chair-legs

Eco

Price

Labour

Connection: TIG welded construction

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Suspended structure for seating

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: TIG welded frame construction

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

page 25


Chapter 3

Details

Shape: Bend wooden backrest

Eco

Price

Labour

Shape + Construction Bend seating + enforcement structure

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Pop-nail through backrest and steel frame

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Pop-nail through backrest and steel frame

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics


Connection: Welded steel square construction

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Finishing: Rubber cap for stacking protection

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

page 27


Chapter 3

Details

Information: Paper stickers with brand information

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Connection: Parker-screws through pre-drilled wood

Aesthetics

Finishing: Centered production mark

Eco

Price

Labour

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Shape: Bend plywood legs

Comfort

Aesthetics

Eco

Price


Finishing: Rounded stool legs for stability

Eco

Price

Labour

Shape: Flat surface of seating element

Comfort

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

page 29


Chapter 3

Details

Connection: Parker-screw through frame (wood) and backrest (wood) Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Corner connection with massive wood and parker-screws Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Construction: Enforcement of construction with wooden rods

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Nut and bolt connection of seating and frame

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics


page 31


Chapter 3

Details

Connection: Enforcement of construction with bend steel rod

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: MIG welded tubes as legs

Eco

Price

Labour

Finishing: Rubber cap on leg-ends for protection

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Pop-nail connection between seating and steel frame Comfort

Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics


page 33


Chapter 3

Details

Connection: Plastic strip for mounting seat-cover

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Connection: Parker-screw connection between frame and backrest Aesthetics

Finishing: Rubber cap on leg-ends for protection

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Welded steel frame in cross-section and connection to backrest frame Aesthetics

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics


Connection: Parker-screw with through wooden seating and steel frame Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Shape: Bend seating + bend steel frame

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

page 35


Chapter 3

Details

Shape: Bend plywood seating and backrest in one piece

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Connection: Tapered and flat screw for connecting frame to seating Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Shape: Backrest with holes

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Construction: Bend chrome-covered steel frame

Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics


Connection: Parker-screw through frame and backseat with rubber part Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

Construction: Enforcement of construction by horizontal steel rods Eco

Price

Labour

Comfort

Aesthetics

page 37


Chapter 4

Conclusion This book showed an interpretation of how an analysis of details can be an input or guide in the design process. As mentioned earlier, a more extensive catalog would be much more functional, but the idea here was to give an example of how this could be done. Ultimately this catalog could function as a guide, where any designer can make a selection of details in design, to be applied into his own design. Although for that scenario to become successful I think the format should be adapted to a more ‘opensource’ concept. I imagine a website with a community where participants could contribute and evaluate specific details. Only by working with a large group of people, the content of such a database (catalog) can stay updated, searchable and valid. Then it will consist out of the most optimized details conform the criteria; eco-impact; affordability; labour intensity; comfort-level and aesthetic appearance.

Currently we only see this happening (open-source internet databases) in the field of materials for design. I strongly believe that adapting a certain method for evaluating design details can be a rich contribution to more ‘focussed’ product design and product manufacturing. With such a method we can see immediately the pro’s and con’s for all the small details, that in the end will form our new products.


page 39


The balance between cost-efficient production on the one hand and aesthetic refinement on the other hand is always present. In this project, part of the research went into looking for traces of scarcity. If we can indicate why certain design decisions where made, we can better understand the motivations for the aesthetics of that specific product. The result of this investigation is this Catalog of Details. It is an overview of different furniture designs categorized to what their details can teach us.

Design in Times of Crisis, Revisited. IM Master graduation project at the Design Academy Eindhoven, the Netherlands

www.bartnijssen.com


Design in Times of Crisis: Catalog of Details  

Design in Times of Crisis: Research Questionnaire

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