One Chair a Week - the book

Page 1


chair week




This book documents the outcome of a studio

culture of form in more contextualized situations.

assignment given to 4th year architecture students at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of

This study goes to the bone of the matter of the chair.

Architecture, Department 11: Architecture, Design

And the emerging discussions touch on a number

and Industrial Form. An assignment focusing on the

of everlasting artistic, aesthetic issues, like the

form of the chair.

relations of detail to the whole, as well as relations of order to variation.

The chair is a deeply rooted, ancient object, with a rich array of constructive typologies available. And the

The study eliminates the usual filter of representation,

chair is an object with intimate and direct relations

as it is full scale and built, rather than drawn. This

to the human body. Therefore, in an attempt to study

provides for discussions enhancing sensitivity as to

– and to advance the sensitivity of – the relations of

absolute size – not just proportion in the sense of

object, construction and the human body, the chair

relations of measures to other measures, but also

is central.

absolute scale, meaning the proportion of the object to the human body and surrounding space. And it

This goes against contemporary trends in design, as

provides for insights into the properties of materials.

this study is object-centered, form-driven, individual

Insights that become embodied, concrete knowledge

and materially concrete. The aim of this approach

rather than detached, abstract information.

is to provide an in-depth study of the design of an architectural object. To study material grammar

There is no way to understand making, other than

and constructive syntax in a setting focusing on

going through the process of making.

the internal problems – the aesthetic problems – of design of physical objects. It is our firm belief

Anders Brix

that such focused, in-depth studies are required, in

Professor, architect, head of studies, department 11

order to build the platform enabling the architect or designer later to make profound contributions to the

“The Chair” One Chair – One to One – Once a Week

Course conducted by

set up a productive rhythm of investigation and

Nicolai de Gier, associate professor, architect maa

experimentation concentrated around the act of

Deane Simpson, teacher, architect phd


Jesper Pagh, teacher, architect maa While the first emphasis of the studio described above was a methodological or procedural one, the second emphasis was a conceptual and There can be many approaches to designing a chair. Typically students start out by making sketches, drawings and models before making final full-scale prototypes. Usually, the period of time spent on the small-scale explorations expand to leave only a limited and flustered period of time to develop fullscale pieces. Many of the limitations of the design are not actually encountered until the full-scale chair is constructed. In recognition of these concerns, we were very interested to explore possibilities to speed up and intensify the design and realization process. For us, it was extremely important to have some physical material at 1:1 scale to inform a series of ongoing discussions in the studio, to improve the skills in the workshops and to develop a synthesis between the material, the tectonics, and the form of the chair. We decided to make an experiment and asked ourselves if it was possible to make one chair per week? It was our hunch that this could

programmatic one – focusing on the possibilities of re-engaging the potential of the chair as a universal object for a universal user. This may be partly stated in terms of a reaction toward a malaise associated with contemporary chair design – one that could be framed as a function of the increasing fragmentation, segmentation and individualization of the program and user of the chair. Currently this manifests itself in several tendencies: the chair addressing a hyperspecific market segment, one that is often translated in stylistic terms, resulting in chairs with short term market desirability; the chair addressing a hyperspecific program that is frozen in terms of its use and limited in its broader cultural value; the hyperflexible chair, that attempts to adjust to ‘fit’ every user which is realized in terms of an assemblage of hardware; the exclusively user-centered designed chair lacking in an overall synthetic design vision and devoid of design innovation; and the purely

production-technology driven chair that is often limited in its broader programmatic and cultural engagement. The challenge of the assignment then was to explore what a universal chair could be today. What would today’s

Gustavo Bianchi

counterpart be to the universality and durability– in tectonic, Elina Cullen

programmatic and cultural terms – of Arne Jacobsen’s Chair series 7 side chair or the Eames’s Plastic Chair, for

Francesco D’ onghia

example. It was our hunch that it is precisely the ability of

Daniela Evans

such designs to synthesize multiple parameters that exist

Camilla Ernen-Lyngholm

around the chair that contribute to their success. Parameters

Paul Farrel

ranging from tectonics, materiality, shape, and program, to functionality, physical and cultural durability, and production

Hollie Gibbons

methodology. By attempting to address this challenge several

Matthew Gilbert

times over, within a weekly feedback loop of fast and active

Johannes Grune

experimentation, we looked to see the studio developing a speed and fluency of design communication – opening up a

Simon Harker

vigorous space of engagement and debate around the design

Nicholas Lee

of the Chair.

Lea Paulsen

This course was targeted to students in the master’s program looking Thomas Skov

for an elementary introduction to furniture design as a design

Tobias Trudsø

discipline. The course is included in a combination thesis with other subject areas at the school or as part of a wider education in industrial design. At the same time, this course will form the basis of an actual thesis study for students wishing to study furniture design. The course program includes lectures, workshops and study trips. 2


Rules: 1. Design and make a chair in 1:1. Develop your own vision for what a chair could be. The chair can be fabricated in the workshop or in the studio. Do it to the best of your abilities. The quality of the concept is the primary issue here rather than the final finish of the chair. 2. The material is fixed: 38x57 mm wooden ’sticks’.




1. A new material will be added to your palette: plywood. The thickness of plywood and proportion of plywood to wooden ‘sticks’ is your choice. All chairs must have at least one piece of each material, then please follow the following rules: 2. The chair type should be a “side chair“. Like the Jacobsen series-7 or the Eames plastic chair, a side chair satisfies the functions of a dining chair, an auditorium chair, a hotel room bureau chair etc. (here, we would like to limit hyper-specificity in the chair program.) 3. All chairs are to be fixed without moving parts. (Here, we would like to limit the discussion of multiuse moving part furniture.) 4. Focus on the notion of the chair as a whole. Place the articulation of the chair’s details to the background of the process 5. Define a single (provisional) point of focus in the development of the chair. This could be related to a thesis around balance, weight, reduction, fewest numbers of parts, etc.




1. Use only plywood to design and make the chair. Attached to this rule are sub-rules: 1a. Cutting, drilling and routing allowed. 1b. No laser cutting 1c. No bending 1d. No boxes (try to avoid the obvious plywood chair trap of the box-chair. Think as three-dimensionally as possible.) Please maintain the following rules from last week: 2. The chair type should be a side chair. 3. The chair parts should be fixed. 4. Background the issue of the single detail. 5. Concentrate on one theme as a generator (eg. transparency, redistribution of chair materiality, suspension, mass, etc, etc.) This is also meant to refer to a process of editing your ideas and reducing the number of things you try to do in a single chair. We have previously discussed this with reference to particular examples. 1:1



1. Design and make a wooden side chair with the freedom available for you to mix and match the rules and materials from the previous three chair assignments. The possibility would be to either refine and develop the design of one of the previous three chairs into a new chair design, or to combine and edit elements of the previous chairs into one single chair. 2. Try to focus on one main conceptual approach in your fourth chair. Try to have one main approach. Please maintain the following rules from previous weeks: 3. The chair type should be a side chair. 4. The chair parts should be fixed.




1. Design and make a chair using 1mm metal sheet. The typical sheet size is 1.0 x 2.0 meters. The best way to start the sketching process, is to work in paper. What you can do with paper in terms of bending, you can typically do with metalsheet. 2. You are only allowed to use the point-welding machine. Continue to work within the same framework as the previous chairs. 3. The chair type should be a side chair. 4. The chair parts should be fixed.



Gustavo Bianchi Argentina

Assignments and progress

The first two chairs I made have in common a search for a very

I am a student of architecture, but i wanted to work in a small

easy construction. In both, the chair design is based on rather

scale to see how my design procedure would be affected

determined elements that relate to each other in fixed ways.

when the object needed to actually be built. The dialectic logic between what I thought should to be done and what

The last three chairs, on the other hand, were focusing on

indeed could be done, I believe grants projects with a density

playing with the structure. The first two with the idea of a

of what is anchored in reality. My curiosity was, in this way,

cantilever seat supported by an inclinated thick column, sta-

satisfied and nourished.

bilised in turn by a base. The last one, on the other hand is an experiment with tensegrity structures. I was interested in it

I know my approach to design and theoretical background

from before, and it fitted really well with a new self-imposed

is not completely shared with the teachers, and I appreciate

condition: the final product needed to fit in my lugagge.

such a successful attempt to adapt the critique into recipro-

cal useful feedback.

Wood sticks chair

This stool is mainly made out of two simple pieces. One L shaped wooden stick that is the structural backleg and part of the seat. The other piece forms the other part seat and the front leg, that works as a stabiliser and helpsto carry the weight. These two pieces are a few centimeters displaced away from each other, in order to emphasise their difference, so that they do not share the uneven end of the seat.


Wood sticks and plywood chair

Plywood chair

The chair is made out of equal “L shaped” pieces of

I got inspired by a really cool wine-holder.attracted

wood sticks and 2 wooden dowels. The form of this

by its apparent instability, the symbiotic relation

chair is given by the different ways of articulating

between the wine and its support, and the clear

these two elements.

distinction between these two elements.

The plywood stripe come as a third element that

This translates into an inclinated structural column

hasve different properties, and thus operate with

with a base, and a fully independent seat that lays on

theirown logic: weaving through the L´s. They serve

the column.

to keep the L´s in their place and to smooth the surfaces in contact with the human body.

Due to the necessary steep inclination of the column, the backrest is resolved by a piece that comes foward.

Metal sheet chair

This chair is a continuation of the last one. I thought that the new material, metal sheet, might solve some problems the last chair had. The chair still works with the two distinguishable parts: cantilever and support. This time, though, each piece is made out of a single bent sheet so that the inner tension would not tear it apart. The two pieces are welded together in the back.


Final Chair

This stool is an attempt to make a seat out of a tensegrity model. Tensegrity is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members delineate the system spatially. The compressed members of this system are the hollow pyramids made out of metal tubes. These are joined through a small tense wire. The tension members are 2mm metal wires, strained by hand and fixed by small metal clamps on the top. These go through handcrafted fittings made out of solid metal bars (with the help of awesome Mads). The fittings placed at the top, in contact with the leather, are rounded; whereas the ones touching the floor are straight filleted.


Elina Cullen Denmark

Assignment and process

At the beginning of the semester I had some thoughts on the

some details where worked out in the workshop.

generic chair. I reflected on the qualities that are important for

This kind of approach is new to me, and must say it has been

the experience of a supernormal object.

interesting, not just the fact that quick dessicions had to be made but also to experience how ones intuition works in a

Throughout the process I’ve tried to work on those qualities,

pressed situation.

by experimenting with them in the different assignments.

The different materials assigned, gave the process a tricky but

The assignments where quick and there was a hands on

good alternation to the hands on approach, where new meth-

approach most of the time, so it has been a very intiutive pro-

ods had to be taken into consideration.

cess. A key word for the process must be improvisation, where

The Strip

The chair consists of a long strip of merged sections. By folding and merging the sections into one another it forms a chair. The strip contains a lot of possibilities. By working on the dimensions of the sections, the strip can become a multifunctional element, that can adapt to any given context and or occasion. A locking system is needed to fix the strip’s different positions. This would magnify the strip’s potential and the different functions.




The concept of this chair was to use as fewer lines

The chair was a reminder on tectonic rules where I

as possible. The seat becomes the back leg and the

tried to optimise the plates possibilities. By merging

front legs become the backrest, which causes fewer

the plates into one another there is no need for

lines. Furthermore this chair was an experiment in

external joining parts. So the plates are used as

laminating, since I have never tried this technique.

joints as well as structural means.

However whilst drawing the chair I forgot to think of

The chair has a strong plate character, however I

the connotations a chair produces on the user. This

feel there is too much of it. The plates could have

chair made me realise is important for the reception

been diminished, by keeping the most important

of a side chair.

structural parts. This would minimise the weight of the chair, which resulted to be very heavy.

Sustainable pattern

Chatty origam

The economy had a major impact on my process. My

I worked with origami, which for me was an obvious

lack of funds made me use the material I had left over

approach to this material, since folding the metal

from previous chairs.

will enhance the structural strength.

The chair is an unconventional shell chair, with

Origami folding is often very complex, and due to

wooden legs. The pattern of the �shell� gives the

the restrictions of the production method, it had to

chair an aesthetic value, that gets to shine trough,

be simplified. This caused a design made of three

now that I have painted the legs. Although I hollowed

pieces that hold on to one another. Even though the

the shell and made a handle to make it manageable,

production of the chair was quick, I experienced that

it is still heavy. This could be solved by removing the

metal isn’t the best material for an origami inspired

superfluous material.




My vision is to create a side chair with a timeless

scrapyard, without any consideration of recycling or

form and a contemporary expression made of recy-


cled materials.

papmaCHAIR is a classic shell chair made of uncon-

The concept is to make sustainable chairs by using

ventional materials. The shell is made of papier ma-

materials that have been thrown away and in some

che and the legs are made of reused table legs.

way can be reused. Various materials are suited for

The reuse of these materials creates an extra loop on

the concept, which will define the projects aesthetic

the material flow and prolongs the life of the mate-

expression and value. papmaCHAIR is inspired by


“suistainable pattern” where the concept was to use

To strengthen the shell and the papier mache, I’ve

leftover materials. The material affected the aesthet-

worked with the geometry by creating a double

ic value and dictated the process towards an intui-

curved form and added layers of fabric and strength-

tive method.

en the risky areas further by adding extra layers. This

With this project I want to use leftover material, that

affects the thickness of the shell in an uneven way

I find problematic and is influenced by a specific men-

and creates a dynamic reverse.

tality of throwing away. There are two issues that I’ve

Since I want an honest expression, leaving the news-

focused on.

paper exposed the papier mache creates a pattern on

1: The daily newspapers. Which mostly are made of

the shell that defines the chairs aesthetic expression

recycled paper, but somehow it seems superfluous to

and value. To emphasise the aesthetic value I have

undergo the entire process of recycling and printing

chosen to use the danish newspaper Politiken, which

a paper that will get thrown out after a short use.

for me has a clean graphic expression. I believe that

2: The bulky trash that is seen on all the major cities

changing the newspaper can change the expression,

in Denmark and other places in the world. Furniture

and thus change the target group.

in perfect conditions and other things are sent to the


Francesco D’Onghia Italy

Assignments and progress

For me it has been a very enriching exchange experience. I

results, but I collected several mistakes that have been nec-

come from Politecnico di Milano and I noticed a big difference

essary in order to get deep experience and knowhow about

of design approach with The Royal Danish Academy.


The first one is very rational and pragmatic, while the second

During the semester I gradually worried less about static as-

one has a more “academic� approach, very manual and much

pects and final results, and caring more about coming out

more focused on the experimentation and the experiencing.

with an interesting and useful experience, both manual and

I really enjoyed this spontaneous method of working and the


sparkling environment of experimentation and collaboration

It is clear the evolution of my chairs, starting from a dogmatic

inside our studio. When I started getting involved in the de-

one to get gradually to more innovative and risky outcomes.

sign vision of the furniture semester I felt free to risk and to

I learnt a wider design approach that takes care about all de-

fail. And learn as much as possible also from failure.

sign phases, sometimes focusing more on the process than the

Failure itself is probably the keyword of my experience. Mak-

object itself. This has been decisive during designing the final

ing a chair in such a short time did not allow me to get perfect


Wood sticks chair

I arrived to Copenhagen very late and I had only 3 days to do this first chair. So I wanted a chair for those moments in which time is unfriendly, for those places in which people are in a hurry. The public transport seemed to meet my expectations: metro stops but also trains and buses. I found very interesting the concept of leaning on something rather than seating, while waiting. Small space and fast rest were the main features to work on. The result is a wooden translation of an existing solution, its is modular with the possibility to be multiplied to form a sort of bench. It could be very interesting to introduce this concept in a danish kitchen, often very small and packed. 32

Wood sticks and plywood chair

Plywood chair

For the second chair I decided to focus on the

Designing this chair I tried to keep simplicity and

materiality and how to highlight the contrast but also

minimality through all the design phases.

the interaction between solidwood and plywood.

The chair is made out of just three elements and all of

I used just plywood for all “horizontal” elements

those belong from the same squared module (45cm X

and just wood sticks for all “vertical” elements. The

45cm). Therefore the three elements can be cut out of

two materials follow two orthogonal axes giving

a standard plywood panel of 90cm x 90 cm without any

the feeling of literally crossing one another through

waste of material. The whole structure is simplified to

a very expressive junction in which the dowels are

the vertical and horizontal directions. I wanted also

visible, showing the crossing of three elements, three

to experiment a way to lock this chair without usign

materials, along three axes.

glue at all. Each element has particular tracks sliding

The shape of the chair is very traditional and

one into the other and locking in a very tight joint.

conventional in order to focus the attention to

The outcome is a very geometric and rational chair,

the materials and make easier the reading of the

essential in form and materials.


Free wood chair

Metal sheet chair

I was interested in the idea of being suspended

For our first and only metal chair I concentrated on

rather than sitting on a rigid structure, so I decided to

materiality. The expression of the metal sheet is

descontextualize the concept of the hammock, from

very interesting and hss potentialities need to be

the exotic environment to the house and office; from

explored in a totally different way from the wood.

being used to rest and relax to the universal use of

The similarities of the metalsheet and the paper was

the side chair. In order to give the feeling, also visual,

very exciting to me and this chair is the result of an

of being suspended, I avoided to use any horizontal

interesting reaction I noticed while modeling with

support. I introduced a new material, the yuta string,

papersheets that, surprisingly, worked even better

that links each part of the hammock together and is

with the metal.

the only junction element between the seat and the

I simply overlapped two metalsheets and welded two


corners. Then, pulling the opposite edges, the two

The result is an object that works with tensions rather than compression, a chair for sitting in rather than on.



I am very interested in the feeling of being suspended that I explored during my fourth chair. I wanted to apply the concept of tension rather than compression, and get to a solution as close as possible to the everyday use of the side chair. The hammock did not work in vertical orientation. The concept of tension is very interesting but in a side chair it needs a different appoach. During the semester I understood the importance of prototyping, moving from abstract ideas to concrete, tangible, and experiential things. I soon realised that sketches and digital drawing would not have helped me since I was dealing with string tensions. Therefore I started prototyping from the very beginning, going through a fast and spontaneous trial and error phase that I used to explore, evolve, and communicate my ideas. As for my metal chair I did not design the form of the seat, but I focused on the process to create that form. The result is a system of strings tightened around an oak structure shaping the surface in an almost unpredictable way.


Daniela Evans Chile

Assignments and progress

I arrived in Copenhagen without knowing how to build a chair

interesting things, in both cases I lerned from the expirience. I

at 1:1, without a big expirience in workshops and without

met different construction methods; crossing, repetitions and

knowing anything about chairs. A big challenge.


In these five chair assignments I started knowing nothing of

At the end I took a big risk by choosing a reused material that

chairs or construction, and as you can see, I was really basic

can be easily found on the streets of Copenhagen. To innovate

in the beginning, but with a big interest in knowinga chair is. I

and propose was what I did along the semester.

wanted to know how to get to design one that works and has a higher added value.This idea moved with me to the end of the project. Throughout the semester I made a lot of mistakes and some

Wood sticks chair

As a free shape chair, and responding to the

question “what is a chair for you?” I realised that my chair needed to contain, at that time, stability, security and comfort. This chair works with the concept of the “throne” as a secure and safe chair, as an object that is hard to move, it gives you the oportunity to seat save and have a secure point of view. I decided to take one of the armrests out, with this you get more possibilities of positions. I worked with the material just as it looked and with a simple constructive method.


Wood sticks and plywood chair

Plywood chair

Acording to the side chair this is a chair with only

This chair also has the principle of a cross. As a plywood

the most necessary parts. I decide to use the wood

chair, it is constructed with: base that consists of two

sticks for the structure and plywood for the seat and

shapes that founds the middle and form the four legs

back rest. The structure of the chair is made of two

of the chair. Then there is repetition of an L shape eight

profieles, they cross each other in the middle and

times, this repetition forms the seat and the back rest.

give up the skeleton, and then the plywood is use to

The concept of repetition is interesting, but again there

the both resting parts, seat and back rest.

was the same mistake where it is not comfortable and

It has problems in the proportions, the back is not

does not fit the body.

confortable but has personality and carรกcter.

Free wood chair

Metal sheet chair

In this free wood chair I used only plywood. This chair

Following the last chair I decided to bring the same, or

is based in a profile that borns for the repetition and

almost the same chair, into metal sheet. It is a totally

rotation of the triangle and then extend the profile

different material, the construction consists more of

with the thickness of the plywood. The seat is straight

bending and cuting. So I ended with a chair of two

with a little angle and the back rest is a concave form

pieces; front legs and seat, and back legs and back rest.

that is the result of following the same shape of the

Both of them are also follow the shape of the triangle,

triangles. The proportions are bigger than necessary

but now they start in a planar map and then get the

but the result is harmonic.

form. I love the idea of working with the chair as a two piece object.


Spider Chair

The technique used to give to this material more strength is called Macrame (an ancient way of weaving by hand) Spider chair is a contrast between the industrial and the hand made production, it is also a return in our history bringing us a different and jumpy way of sit-

Returning to the analysis of the side chair as a universal object, common for everyone, that fits with all the activities of the day, eating, studing, working or just sitting for a moment. I stopped one moment to look at these activities, how a chair can respond to everything? All these activities have something in common: There is always active and inactive moments . My chair will work with this duality to include active and inactive moments in one chair. It will reflect this duality transmitting this in its shape and materiality. I decided to work with metal tubes for the structure and with recycled inner tubes for the seat and the back rest. The structure is composed of two pieces of metal tube that found each other at the floor, the idea of this is to have a chair that we can adjust. The second material is really interesting becouse is a reused material that abounds in Copenhaguen.

ing day to day.


Gustavo Bianchi Elina Cullen Francesco D’ onghia Daniela Evans Camilla Ernen-Lyngholm Paul Farrel Hollie Gibbons Matthew Gilbert Johannes Grune Simon Harker Nicholas Lee Lea Paulsen Thomas Skov Tobias Trudsø

Camilla Ernen-Lyngholm Denmark

Assignments and progress “storage” - for clothes, bags, books etc.

PLACED UPSIDE DOWN - on a table while cleaning the floor

The main idea in all my chairs stems back to my initial analysis; When is a chair just a chair, not a stool, an armchair, a folding chair or any other category? My goal has been to examine what would be the bare essentials of a chair. I have aimed to define

ACCOMMODATE MANY SITTING POSITION - by itself and in relation to a table



what a generic sidechair would need, and equally importantly not need, in order to be immediately perceived as “just” a chair. The generic sidechair should be able to accommodate the many functions of a chair (see the diagram). The process of the chairs involved research, hand drawn sketches, sketch models in paper, cardboard and wood and 1:1 work at the work shops, engineer consulting and visits to companies with furniture / weaving expertise.

mobility - easy to move with just one hand

MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FROM VARIOUS AGEGROUPS - add a pillow for elderly people - add a “Handysitt” for small children

Wood sticks chair

The focus in the first chair was to meet the bare essentials of a chair, and make it able to accommodate the various functions of a generic chair. The chair is inspired by the Egyptian chair: a triangular motif occurs where the backleg, the backrest and the seat meet. This triangle provides structural stability and contributes with a clear and simple visual identity.


Wood sticks and plywood chair

Plywood chair

In the second chair focus was more on comfort.

This chair was driven by the wish to let the logic and

Switching the materials from their most obvious

expression of the planar material be visible in the final

placements; Using the plywood as a frame instead


of a seat and a backrest, allowed free organic forms,

Meanwhile it was also important to minimise the

and by making the sticks rather thin they were able

material and thereby the weight in order to keep

to meet the shapes of the frame.

the mobility of the chair. The chair is surprisingly comfortable as the slits in the seat and the back allows each piece of wood to give in to the weight that it is carrying.

Free wood chair

Metal sheet chair

The fourth chair is a development of the first chair

The fifth chair was designed with focus on how

(the Egyptian inspired chair). it is light (3,3 kg), it is

the chair would meet the human body. I wished to

stackable, easy to handle and to get into and out

transform the cold, hard metal sheet into something

of. It fulfills many of the functions which the initial

organic and comfortable.

analysis highlighted would be the demands of a

The shell consists of several circles which are cut out

generic side chair. All the sticks are 25x50 mm, and

of the metal sheet, then pressed individually to obtain

this uniform dimension gives the chair a visual

the correct degree of a coneshape, and finally welded


together to create the curvature of the entire shell. It is made of left-over material only, so in this way a sustainable chair.


Final Chair

In my studies into the Egyptian Chair, a 4000 year old archetype, I read the following: “In its construction and form this chair-type represents something quite unique in the history of furniture, combining simplicity and stability with comfort. A combination which does not occur again in the history of European furniture until the 16th century.” (Dan Svarth, Egyptisk møbelkunst fra Faraotiden, p.66)Main focus has been to modernise this chair by refining it’s dimensions, proportions and materials. Comfort has been met by making use of the lines and points that already existed in the modernised frame. Great attention has been put into the joints and details of the chair; at the front legs the fingerjoints’ dimensions harmonise with the dimension of the yarn, and the linear repetition joins the two materials into a whole. By recessing the yarn into the wood it becomes an integrated part of the chair rather than an extra layer. A generic sidechair should have the ability to accommodate unexpected functions.


Paul Farrell UK

Assignments and progress

Following initial discussions on what makes a chair a chair, I wanted to define what differentiates a side chair from other

The scale of the side chair is also largely derived from the hu-

pieces of sitting furniture. The areas of the body supported

man body. However it must also fit within the wider furniture

dictate how the chair is used, and therefore classified. The

framework, commonly working in combination with tables/

relationship can be summarised by saying the task performed

desks to allow users perform tasks, like writing a letter.

on the chair is more deliberate when less of the body is supported.

Scale and Support were the initial themes I chose to explore in the first of a family of chairs which would grow during the

Looking at archetypal side chairs, the support of ones but-


tocks and lower back in combination give the freedom to lean

All architects should design chairs.

forward an engage with a task, and at the same time the option to lean back, using the chair in a less formal manner.


Three identified body parts – lower back, left and right sitting bone have their downward forces transferred directly into the ground via three pillars. The pillars are made as simply as possible. This served two functions: keeping the language relating to support clean, and providing a primary and ambiguous form, making the scale of the object hard to distinguish without comparable objects. It’s modest form lead to the nickname.




Ones body is inherently symmetrical in both form

Would a different level on flexibility within the struc-

and weight. I worked from the principal that if one

ture change the function of the chair?

half of the body could be comfortably supported by half a chair, then this could be reflected along a cen-

Rigidity in the structure itself lead to the horizontal

tral axis to complete a whole.

bracings of the chair being created with cables under tension. The bouncy balls act as flexible spacers.

Fitting the chair to the shape of the human back results in an acute angle forcing the two halves to join.

The idea of mass producing a repeated one piece element was the main design parameter.

forget me not


I felt materials were being interpreted on their di-

Continuing to look at forgotten properties, I wanted

mensions, and that natural and inherent properties

to search for something as unique to the material as

of timber were being forgotten.


First I made an archetypal wooden blue chair. I then dismantled the chair and split each piece of the

The chair imitated similar form as the previous chair,

chair lengthways with an axe.

using 3 sided boxes to give structural strength. I then spent the rest of my time failing to magnetize the en-

The chair was then rebuilt with the wood

tire chair. I eventually faked the effect with magnetise

essentially inside out, showing wood’s unique 3D

which raised interesting questions into true personali-

quality in its grain.

ties of materials. Steel’s attraction to metal for example. 58

Split Side Chair

The concept for the final chair aimed to further ex-

With consumer culture booming people are starting

plore themes initially touched on with the ’forget me

to look beyond mass produced objects and towards

not’ chair.

customized one offs in an attempt to make their objects stand out. Instead of looking to CAD/CAM rapid

As modern production methods have progressed,

prototyping, by

natural materials have become industrialized. This

releasing the natural differences within wood is a

has happened over centuries and could be seen as

more honest way of producing mass produced indi-

mans desire to move away from nature as he/she


evolves. The juxtapostion between the ’snow white design After a tree is felled it is processed, cut in to orthogo-

language’ parts of the chair, and its split sides aimed

nal dimensions and any leftovers are reformed into

to heighten the difference between the material fin-

boards with the help of glues and resins. To compare,


what we buy as wood in the hardware store, or as a wooden chair in Ikea is a million miles from the tree

Overall form and joinery were kept simple to allow

in the forest.

the material to do as much talking as possible. The lines the axe split follows are never perpendicular,

By splitting wood I aimed to reveal the natural beau-

and this gives the chair its unique shape and char-

ty and indivualism of timber.



Hollie Gibbons UK

Assignments and progress

This semester focused upon an exciting exploration into

Working at a scale of one to one has demonstrated how

furniture design, paying particular attention to chairs;

simple, and, at times, how frustrating it can be to transform

combined with a number of courses tackling aesthetics and

an idea on paper into a real, performing, object. Tackling

user-centred design, the purpose of this semester was to

a number of new materials and design limitations, I have

encourage the rapid exploration, design development and

designed and constructed a series of individual chairs,

full scale construction of a series of chair prototypes. Each

several of which demonstrate my interest in expressing

chair was introduced with a new set of parameters that could

the chair as a flexible and active object; engaging and

eventually evolve into a final, more refined, working prototype.

responding to the weight and movement of the human body.

Over the course of the semester I was able to develop new skills and expand on those which I already possessed. Often, as a student of architecture, there is seldom chance you will see one of your designs become an actual full scale object.

Hollie Gibbons, June 2011

TaglĂŚter chair

The project began through my understanding of a chair to be something that supports and elevates the body from the ground. The form of this chair relies on a series of repeated module components laminated together. The first component serves as a front leg and backrest; the second serves as the seat and back leg. These two modules are repeated to create a suitable seat width to support the body. Comfort was addressed by closing the comb structure to reduce pressure on the user’s legs and shoulders when sat on the chair.

TaglĂŚter and 4mm plywood chair

12mm Plywood chair

This chair is designed for use at a dining table.

Working with the properties of the ply sheet I decided

Inspiration was derived from shaker style and shell

to concentrate on using as few elements as possible

chairs. The combination of taglĂŚter and plywood

in order to create an expressive side chair. The

materials provides a strong rigid base and flexible

chair consists of three main interlocking plywood

seat that responds to the movement, and changes in

planes and a smaller forth element of the same

weight, of the user throughout the course of a meal.

material. Limiting the chair to as few components

The chair is composed of a box frame and plywood

as possible resulted in an asymmetric form which

shell loop overlaid with plywood slats; both the loop

created a number of problems in the chair’s overall

and the slats are fixed to the base with dowel pegs.

function; as a result of these earlier limitations the chair loses its expression as a side chair.

Free wood chair

1mm Steel Sheet chair

I decided to expand on the previous plywood chair

In keeping with the properties of the steel sheet

and overcome the problems encountered by freeing

I decided to tackle the conventional tubular steel

up the parameters I imposed upon my last design.

cantilever chair and explore whether it was possible

Allowing more components, I attempted to improve

to create a cantilever chair in 1mm steel sheet.

upon the asymmetrical chair’s stability and overall

The chair is designed in four strip sections which

look. To refine the form of the chair; I split the chair

are bent and closed via spot welds down a central

into five components: two legs, backrest, seat and the

seam. Each individual section is then tig welded to

pivotal brace. Utilising more components I was able to

the next section by means of additional external

achieve better proportions appropriate for a side chair.

seams. This cantilever chair is equally flexible and robust, able to tolerate the movements of the user.


Active Chair

The chair has become somewhat of a passive object in our everyday lives - allowing users to transfer their weight and find themselves in a very passive posture. The concept behind the final chair is to preventing passive engagement between the chair and the user. To satisfy this concept, I decided to


facilitate and maintain an active sitting position,

concentrate on materiality and scale; avoiding the notion of the overly-designed ergonomic chair. It was important to consider materials that were flexible, which could respond to the weight and movement of the body. I decided to reduce the materiality of the chair to the minimum, only allowing materials to be used where necessary, or where they come into

Active Active

contact with the body e.g the back rest and the seat.


Mattehw Gilbert UK

Assignments and progress

Moving from architectural design to furniture design

an object can visually state how it is held together without

has been a very interesting and beneficial experience for me.

keeping any secrets. Furthermore, I am not so interested in

The most fundamental aspect of this change is one of scale.

designing a chair where the forces are distributed- up, down,

I am used to working with abstract scales that make a large

left, right. For me, oblique angles and less predictable forces

amount of complex data understandable; whereas a chair is

are infinitely more interesting, and provide me with a much

perfectly understandable and indeed should be understood

wider and more mysterious territory to explore.

at 1:1. With the program given- that we are to design a side chair, I have found myself becoming increasingly interested in material properties and their tectonic expression. I am very interested in exploring the properties unique to every material, and how such properties can be exploited and expressed in the construction of a chair. I love the idea that

Wood sticks chair

This was the first chair I had ever made, it was

also the first time I had ever thought critically about the design of a chair as an object. I thought about how I use my chair in the studio; I am normally either engaged and working, or leaning back and thinking. I designed a chair to accomodate this motion. It is in two parts, a seat and backrest part and a base part, with no fixed connection between the two. One is able to lean back, or sit comfotably in an unpright position to work.


Wood sticks and plywood chair

Plywood chair

I sought to create a chair that expresses tension

With this chair I sought to further investgate the

via the bending properties of plywood. I wanted

potential of unfixed connections. I was interested in


experiment with various bending processes-

the idea that a chair could be very fast to assemble,

namely glue-laminating and steam-bending. I was

and that this rapidity of assembly could become

also keen to express the tectonic quality of these

its tectonic expression. I developed a ‘family’ of

processes. I created a very simple and lightweight

components that shared a common geometric

shell construction, bent-up from a flat form and held

expression, and that added up to a cohesive whole.

together with wire. The legs are glue-laminated and

I worked with the idea that the chair could be held

also held together with wire, forming a simple plinth

together through tension, via a balanced relationship

for the shell.

of forces.

Free wood chair

Metal sheet chair

A development of the plywood chair, I sought to

I worked with the idea of creating stiffness in the chair

further investigate the idea of a ‘family’ of like

via a ‘seam’ running down its centre. The purpose of

components held together by tension. While the first

this seam was to divide the maximum dimensions of

ply-wood chair was more sketch-like in its expression,

all the pieces in two, and introduce more bends into

with this I sought to develop the geometric expression

the material- thus creating more stiffness.

of the whole. I also tested the idea of a series of parts

The chair is composed of four simple bent pieces,

that can make multiple chairs; the seat can be flipped

joined at the seam with wooden spacers. These

such that the chair opens up towards the back rather

decisions result in a visually open chair, one can see

than the front.

right through the chair from several angles.


PLY Chair

With the final chair I sought to further investigate

(use this page for showing proces, concepts or what-

the potential of a plywood chair held together by

ever you wants)

virtue of its tensile properties. Further to the previous experiments I sought to work closely with the end form, rather than letting this be a result of the individual pieces. I concentrated on resolving the global stability as well as developing a joint logic that could be used throughout. The three elements at each side of the chair, the front leg, back leg and arm, join each other with a flexible junction that is held tight by the cross bracing pieces. I developed this joint as a way to control yet also express tension. I did not just work with a finished chair design, but also the order that it is assembled. This helped me resolve the stability step by step. The end product is a visceral display of tension, balanced with a cohesion of form.


Johannes Grune Germany

timber chair

Pine wood (55 x 38) offers a wide range of simple and fast wood joinings. For my design i cut the material to length and connected vertical and horizontal parts of the framework with glue and screws. The seat and the backrest are formed by putting wood sticks together, thereby creating components that look like cushions because of their thickness. I came up with a really solid and heavy wooden chair that is easy to read. Material and appearance going well together. While using this unusual and oversized profiles for the construction, it even carries some playfulness besides its simplicity. 80

light chair

plywood chair

Inspired by the light constructions used for theater-

Following the sub-rules of the assignment - cutting,

decorations i designed this lightweigth chair out of

drilling and routing allowed, no laser cutting, no

thin woodsticks (18mm x 24mm) and 4 mm plywood.

bending - I designed a chair out of 6 mm plywood. I

The framework out of pine wood sticks receives its

used sketching and rhino-modelling to evolve shapes

stability through the plywood surfaces that at the

and generate a construction out of that panel-material

same time shape the seat and backrest of the chair.

that is able to be a comfortable chair and doesn‘t

While i bend it two dimensionally, the thin flexible

look like a box. The sitting surface is reinforcing the

plywood forms rigid and loadable surfaces. That also

hole leg-construction underneath. I failed in adding a

leads to a more comfortable seat. Through joining

proper backrest to the contruction. It was more able

vertical and horizontal plywood parts without any

to be a interesting stool than a side chair.

overhang, I created an interesting effect like a skin on a fragile framework.

wooden chair

metal sheet chair

I started the design process with building 1:5 models

Although the metal sheet was only 1 mm thick I

out of small woodsticks and cardboard. Obviously

associated a lot of weight with steel and decided to

the stick character stayed to the end. One of the main

focus on reducing material as far as possible. I wanted

features is the “seatbox” out of 9 mm plywood that

to avoid big straight surfaces where it is not necessary

is held by the left & right side wood frames. On the

and designed a framework out of L - profiles which

one hand it creates an interesting space “in the chair”

only through adding the straight and bent surfaces of

and on the other hand it offers some functional

the seat and the backrest gained enough stiffness. The

space. A second approach was to add armrests to

legs are reinforced by a flat base. Possibly a steeltube-

the construction. In the end i was impressed by the

construction would have been easier to handle but

challange it presents and how easy the side chair-

could not show that interesting reduced, paper-fragile

character can switch into a armchair-character.

appearance. 82

side chair

The basic concept was to design a side chair using wood and wood-based materials, in order to underline both materials advantages and characteristics in tectonics and appearance. I developed a rib-construction to bend 4 mm plywood in order to get rigid surfaces for the seat and back. They stabilise a light frame construction consisting of oak sticks and birch plywood parts. The L-shaped plywood parts on the left and right side absorb and visualise the forces in the chair and at the same time highlight the stick-character of the four legs. I used CNC-technology and simplified the process of assembly, to create an affordable chair that shows an interesting contrast of material and surface qualities through combining varnished plywood and hardwood.


Simon Harker UK

Assignments and progress

This investigation has focused on the side chair

developed a strong design concept with an identity for a series

through a series of full scale experiments exploring this

of side chair. The rapid process of design and production has

common chair type. A short user centered observational study

given a steep and accomplishing learning curve. Lessons learnt

focused the requirements of side chair design to be versatile

from studying chairs in this way have focused many detail,

for various spaces, uses and situations. The fast progression

material and anthropometric issues which will contribute to

between each chair made, critically amassed many ideas and

the remaining architecture projects of the course. It has been

themes to build the final chair. The different materials of each

one of the most rewarding and enjoyable design semesters

assignment explored the importance of tectonics, but the

that I have undertaken.

underlying considerations of the proportion, function and character of a side chair remained paramount at every stage. These qualities were elevated by the parallel study of chairs through recent history. The assignments and process have

Simon Harker, June 2011

TaglĂŚgter Chair

The taglĂŚgter chair aimed to address initial perceptions of the proportions and function that a chair should have. A system was developed to use the 38 x 56 mm timber in whole, half and quarter sections. This provided a basic design language and hierarchy whilst helping to proportion the form and simplify construction. This chair invited a preliminary exploration of tectonics with focus on a key connection, however this expression of construction could be more minimal, subtle and refined.


Laminated Chair

Ply 9 Chair

The two essential components of the side chair, the

Plywood was used exclusively, using the planes of

legs and seat, were considered respectively in the two

faceted plates to form a single shell of the chair,

prescribed materials of wooden stick and plywood

which aims to achieve unity in form. The strength of

sheet. The chair aims to express and contrast these

the cantilever was derived from creating sectional

parts with the tectonic focus being the detail of their

depth between two planes. The boxed section at the

integrated and minimal junction. Counter bending

core of the chair opposes the planar language of the

and cross-laminating planes of ply in the seat showed

seat and base. The geometry was challenging due to

the potential to create a strong boxed element with

the interdependent relations between planes and

opposing clean faces which consider the chair as an

the resultant solution gave a tipping point close to

object from all sides.


Ply 4 Chair

Steel 0.5 Chair

The lightest weight chair of my investigations

Five steel ribbons were bent and folded to give

weighing just 2.4kg, is strong and fully rigid due to

conceptual elements with continuous and clean

its construction from 4mm boxed plywood. Five

tactile edges. The form of the curved steel around

elements unify the seat, back and leg components

a structural leg is true to the material quality and is

into forms that in isolation may appear as non

dynamic in the chair form. The 0.5mm steel sheet had

chair like objects. The facing surfaces of the box

to be cut, bent and welded to form strips and through

elements were fixed to give the overall chair form,

this process the concept of a single flowing element

which through the composition of its parts works

was almost lost. Despite the construction difficulties

ergonomically and spatially for the user.

and imprecisions, the chair helped to focus the five element concept.


Five Piece Chair

The culmination of investigations into side chair design has followed the concept of a chair made from five elemental forms. The result has a strong tectonic where pieces are joined in vertical splaying planes


to give a distinctive form which juxtaposes facet and fluid faces. The proportion and appearance aim to be visceral and the limit of the chairs statement. Functionally, the chair was to have the versatility and modesty associated with a side chair, providing the kind of comfort to give it a subconscious existence in use. This prototype was shaped and constructed from solid lind wood. The vision for industrially viable


production would be to injection mold each of the elements from plastic with the opportunity to explore colour and surface texture.

1. 2. 3.

Spatial proportions of the chair 1:5 plastic 3D printed model Solid wood pieces before assembly



Nicholas Lee UK

Assignments and progress

This semester focused on chair design has been very

connection with the body. I have been surprised by the

challenging but also very rewarding. The pace of the semester

importance of proportion when dealing with design on the

has resulted in the need for the rapid generation of concepts

scale of furniture. Sizing and composition becomes inherently

and rapid critical self reflection when given only one week

intuitive when dealing with full scale models which give you

to design and build a chair at full scale. Throughout the

immediate feedback. It is also refreshing to work in a design

semester I have been interested in the idea that a chair unlike

discipline which does not carry the burden of functionalist

an architectural work does not have the permanent context

rationalisation often found in architectural projects. It will be

of its immediate surroundings. I am fascinated by a chairs

very interesting to apply the skills we have developed during

strong physical connection with the human body which I

this semester to an architectural project.

have continually viewed as its context. I believe that there is a strong similarity between furniture and apparel design which both share this immediate physical and symbolic

Wood sticks chair

With the first chair I wanted to play with

the themes of temporality, adaptability and user customisation. It is a kit chair made of standardised components which are slotted together without the need for glue resulting in a fully adjustable back rest and seat. I was disappointed with the final result which was aesthetically clumsy and unstable due to its demountable nature. The main points I have learnt from this chair are the importance of proportion in furniture and the need to make physical models.


Wood sticks and plywood chair

Plywood chair

The concept for the second chair came from the de-

With the third chair I wanted to explore the theme of

sire to articulate the void left by the human body. I

‘Folding a Planar Surface’ to create a three dimensional

profiled the plywood seat and backrest slats with

form to support the human body with a minimal

an ‘imprint’ of the human form. I produced a sketch

number of contact points. All joints on the chair have

1/5 working model prior to making the full size chair

been chamfered to create a continuous ply ribbon

which was very useful for tweaking the design. I have

which runs around the side of planar surfaces. I have

found that the vertical contoured plywood slats are

also considered proportion carefully and have created

surprisingly comfortable to sit on due to their flex. I

a hierarchy in thickness of the plywood ribbon based

consider the human body as the context for a chair

on function where the parts of the chair in contact

and will continue this belief.

with the body are widest.

Free wood chair

Metal sheet chair

I was keen to develop the concept of ‘profiling’

I was interested to experiment with the malleability of

and ‘contouring’ to articulate the void left for the

metal and to use the material in thin strip rather than

human body with the fourth chair. I wanted to

as a planar material due to its heavy weight and lack

make a cantilevered chair made only from 4mm

of stiffness. I liked the concept of using wooden form

thick laser cut ply-wood sheet that would create a

work to create a mould of the desired chair form that

homogeneous structural form. I thought it would be

could then be wrapped in thin metal strips creating a

really interesting to play with transparency and chose

structural grid shell which could then stand indepen-

a slotted grid structure for the chair with support fins

dently from the mould as a chair. The intention would

angled at 45° to create a chair that visually changes

be that the metal would deform with use to create an

dramatically as you view it from various angles.



‘Imprint’ Chair

The underlying theme for my final chair was ‘Imprint’ expressing the void left by the human body which I view as the context for my project. The imprint represents a trace captured in time of the human form elevating the chair beyond an inanimate object. I have considered proportion to be of paramount importance when designing and detailing the chair. The horizontal slats have been arranged with two focal points accentuating the ergonomic form of the human body. The spacing also provides visual variation creating both transparency and mass as the viewer moves around the chair. I developed upon the homogeneous structural system from my fourth chair by making it more rigid and by improving stability. I would envisage that the chair could be developed further and eventually could be manufactured in other materials such as polished aluminium.


Lea Paulsen Denmark

Assignments and progress

Working with an object such as the generic side chair is a very

the generic side chair and its properties quite interesting. In

interesting design task. As the generic chair has to cater to

this context the Super Normal Design is a very evident ap-

many different activities it has to be specific, yet not too spe-


cific, in its design programme.

And as I see it, a way of going about this Super Normal, without

Approaching this task can seem a bit difficult and intangible,

denying the importance of aesthetics and emotional design,

and what I have found during these months of work is that

can for me be by working with Scandinavian minimalism as a

one has to choose a standpoint from which the subject can be

key approach in the design task.

tackled. E.g. to percieve the process as a design exercise revolving around pure shape and material, or to take on a more conceptual approach that might represent a certain issue. In my approach to the topic I have found the discussion about

What makes a Chair




What is the essence of a chair? Based on that question three chairs were made, each representing a given issue: A) the chair’s relationship with its surroundings how a chair is normally seen as an object that operates freely and non-dependent in its spatial context. B) how the chair meets the body - to question whether a chair is only a chair when it supports the buttocks. C) the physical shape of a chair - to challenge the most common perception of a chair being four legs, seat and back.


Three legged Chair

Working with fewest number of parts and structure as my main points of focus, I wanted to make a simple chair that was easy to read tectonically. As a result of that the chair is made up of a very simple base, that clearly is the bearing part of the chair, and a backrest and seat that is borne, and held in place, by the frame. The chair responds to my initial points of focus, but based on the dimensions and the crude joints, the overall impression ends up as quite a rough caricature of a chair.

Wishbone Chair

In continuation of my previous work, I initially chose to keep my point of focus on a simple threelegged chair. I chose to ‘split’ each leg, as I, during my sketching process, found the emerging wishbone motif interesting in terms of both aesthetics and constructional possibilities. The wishbone motif works as a gesture visually leading the forces from the ground and up, to support and also position the person sitting on the chair. Because of the inherent dynamics of the divisive movement I find the wishbone motif quite interesting. 106

holds the two pieces of the backrest in place and with an outward movement creates a handle to manoeuvre the chair with. This movement is repeated under the seat, and spacers part the two ‘systems’ that together

Invertebrate Chair

My main wish for the final chair was to make a good utilitarian side chair. A chair which should be light, have a fluid/dynamic relationship with its surrounding space and a modest personality - and which could easily be mass produced. Furthermore I wanted to address the Super Normal Design approach with a clear reference to Scandinavian minimalism, both in terms of choice of materials and tectonics being legible and clear. As my previous chairs have had an emphasis on the base, making the seat and back less inviting and comfortable, I this time wished to work towards creating a shell chair cradling the human body. Based on this I have made a plywood shell with a split backrest making room for the spine of the seated and allowing maximum flexibility while still fixed and stable. As a base I’ve made a frame of wire which

make up the chair.


Thomas Skov Denmark

Assignments and progress

The following five chairs are a result of five assignments, each

It has been a intensive period, but working with different ma-

one having a particular set of rules and demands, that had to

terials, and weekly deadlines, is something I will benefit from

be fullfilled.

in the future. I have learnt a lot about materials, especially ply, but also

I started with an experimental approach, when making the

working with steel, has been a new and developing experi-

first chair, but later I focused on lightness in weight, and sim-


plicity in apperance. During this process, I have collected a sum of ideas, that I want I wanted to make five different chairs during the period, instead of developing a specific design, through the different steps.

to use, when designing the final chair.

Wood sticks chair

This chair is made of vertical 17 mm wooden sticks, that are united by 17 mm horizontal sticks. The idea was to create a chair, that would look like a cube from behind, but with a profile of a chair cut out of the “cube� seen from the side. As this was the first chair, it was an experiment, to try out a solution that might not be used another time. More a concept chair, than a chair that could be developed into a final project.


Wood sticks and plywood chair

Plywood chair

The chair consists of two different components,

This chair is a low chair, it is more a lounge chair, than

36x36 mm wood and 3 mm ply.

a chair for dining.

The wooded leg-structure is two quadrilaterals,

The chair is made of 12 mm ply, with no visible joinings.

joined with a bar for stabilisation at the bottom, and

The structure consists of two sides, that are united

by the seat at top.

by a back plate, and a three-sided seat, this is the part

The seat is made of two wooden sides that are united

that stabilises the chair.

by a louvres-structure of 3 mm ply for each 28 mm.

As the components are joined without visible joinings,

The result is a chair, that is quite light, transparent,

the chair appears very clean, simple, and a little naive.

and stable. If the louvres were cut out with curves for the body, the chair would be more comfortable.

Free wood chair

Metal sheet chair

The idea behind the chair, was to make a simple chair,

The chair is made of 0.75 mm steel, and consists of two

that should be stackable.

leg-structures, that are united by the seating plate.

The plate-structure is made of 15 mm ply, which gives

The seating plate is bend into shape, and is spotwelded

a massive appereance. But the chair is a lot lighter

onto the leg-structures.

than it appears, as every plate consists of three layers

The welds on the front and the top ensure stability,

of ply, with a middle layer, that has been hollowed for

however the seat could be more stiff, and a thicker


steelplate would be necessary to improve the stiffness

The joinings are not visible and are made with dowels.

of the chair.

The hole in the back serves as a decoration, and as

The visual expression of the chair is very clean and




Final Chair

While working with the five different chairs,

workshops changed the chair a bit.

mentioned earlier, I collected some thoughts and

My experience from this is, that in future projects I

ideas, that i want to use in the final chair.

will not change my design, according to the workshop

The chair has to made in bend ply only, as I wanted

facilities at the school, but to keep the design as I

to explore the opportunities and limitations when

want it.

working with this material.

Furthermore I have achieved a lot of “hands-on�

My focus was to find out the accurate thickness

experience working with bend ply, and exploring the

for the material, ensuring a great look and a great

possibilities and limitations of this material.

stability. I wanted to work with the joining of the different parts, to investigate how strength, flexibilty and a smooth appearance can be achieved. I wanted to use some of the ideas and priciples from the Plywood Chair and The Free Wood Chair. I will use the experiences gained during the work with these chairs, to develop and refine the concept, so the final chair will appear with accurate proportions, great stability and comfort for the user. The result is not quite as i planned it to be, but adjustments according to production at the schools


Malthe Tobias Trudsø Denmark

Wood sticks chair

When I designed this chair, I thought a lot about how a person could be suspended in the sitting position. Questions like these arise: Where does the weight of the human body meet the chair? And how is it possible to obtain comfort in the sitting position? The overall concept became passive flexibility. After studying the human anatomy, I decided to go for two “rotation points�. One just under the knee, and one around the lower part of the spine. Using quite thin sticks of wood, I obtained flexibility in the sitting position. 120

Wood sticks and plywood chair

Plywood chair

This chair is all about laminating! After the wood

How to design with plane surfaces? In the process

stick chair, I was still fascinated about flexibility.

of making this chair, I changed my way of looking

But I tried to combine flexibility with an interlocking

at chairs. Instead of understanding my chairs as

structure, in a classic triangle shape. The more

“complete” objects, I began to give the different

weight one put on the seat, the more the triangle

parts of the chair names, related to their function.

will lock. Furthermore, I liked the idea that one

This plywood chair consist of three planar pieces,

is not completely sure what is what in this chair.

“the skin”, which are all held together by a fourth

The front legs become the high back; the back leg

planar piece; “the spine”, which runs along the chair.

connects the seat… By slicing up the ply I was able

The idea about a spine – naturally taken from the

to form it around the back of the seat, providing a

human anatomy – created a concept I could easily

double curved support for the back - adding comfort

expand into several new designs.

in the sitting position.

Free wood chair

Metal sheet chair

After working in plywood, it became clear that I had

Somehow I became interested in combining construction

to rethink the concept of the “spine chair�. I had some

techniques from the aero industry with chair design. The

structural concerns, and I wanted to refine the expression

design can best be described as an evolution from the free

of the chair, so it would become clearer. Instead of using a

wood chair; from three to four legs. The spine became a

plane piece to provide stability in the back, I introduced

supporting triangular framework for the skin, emerging

a laminated oak frame: the back legs. This frame is

from one point under the seat I four directions. Instead

intersected by another laminated oak piece, running

of being passive, the skin now plays an important role by

from the front leg; supporting the seat and continuing by

fixing the positions of the legs. The pieces of the chair are

supporting the back. The four pieces are joined in a way

cut out in 0.5 mm aluminum sheet, bended and blind riveted

that interlocks them; neither glue nor screws are used.

together. In areas with a lot of stress, extra material is

Together with the two ply pieces, the structure clearly

inserted inside and perpendicular to the triangular tubes,

expresses its own connection to the other parts.

providing side stability. 122

Department 11, Furniture Semester

Final Chair Overall Idea

easy to carry around. By working with a modest design of

The concept of my final chair is “spine and skin”. I see my final

the chair, I hope it is possible to develop a chair that suits

chair as a new step in the process I started with The Plywood

several spatial scenarios, and in that way, the chair becomes

Chair. I want to study the possibilities of introducing a four

more universal.

legged version - does it give meaning to talk about spine and skin, when dealing with four legs? Is it possible to integrate


passive flexibility, when working with a spine?

The chair should have a defined structure, with a clear difference between the supporting structure and the

Function and Flexibility

structure that meets the skin and carries the human body.

I think it is important that a side chair can be used in many

In that way, I am able to work with different supporting

different ways, and that it stays desirable, even though the

structures and different “contact” structures – but they

time and style changes. The word flexibility relates in this

should always be related and developed in relation to each

context more to the function of the chair, than the chair

other, in order to appear as a whole.

is actual being flexible. If a side chair is able to meet the demands from different situations, e.g. around a dining table or in an auditorium, I think it is successful in its function. Comfort It is very important for me, that a chair provides a high level of comfort in the sitting position. Often one sits in a chair for a long time and there is nothing worse than being annoyed by a badly made chair. First of all, a chair should fill out its function by being something that supports the human body. The design comes secondly and should be “negotiated” with the level of comfort.

Materials The structure will be made of laminated European ash wood; the shell will be cast in glass fibre. Ash is chosen because it is hard and strong and very suitable for furniture. Furthermore, I like the light yellow color and the structure of the grains. Tectonic By using the weight of the sitting person, it is possible to work with interlocking wood joining. By doing so, I would like to avoid assembling the parts with screws or glue in order to be able to disassemble the chair at a later time. In general, I think it is interesting to use as few parts as


possible because I like the minimalistic and simple look.

The appearance of my final side chair should be light, simple

The simpler the chair can be, without compromising the

and refined. I would like to push the material to the edge

function and comfort, the better I think it is. A very simple

and express the way the wood is put together in a refined

construction is often difficult to invent, because each part

structure. It is important that the chair looks light and is

is very related and integrated with the others.



Make a final chair. Combine all your experience from the semester. You will have much more time to develop this one, but make 1:1 models on the way.






With thanks to the students: Gustavo Bianchi, Elina Cullen,Francesco D’onghia, Daniela Evans, Camilla Ernen -Lyngholm, Paul Farrel, Hollie Gibbons, Matthew Gilbert, Johannes Grune, Simon Harker, Nicholas Lee, Lea Paulsen, Thomas Skov, Tobias Trudsø. Teachers: Nicolai de Gier, Deane Alan Simpson. The workshop staff: Mads Johnsen, Torben Valerius, Henrik Litske, Lars Tingskov Mikkelsen Graphic design: Daniela Evans Edited by Nicolai de Gier Photographer: Frank Cerri Wood sponsor: Keflico a/s Fonts & paper: Eurostile and Vista Sans 134 pages 120g paper Key search-words: chairs, construction, form, materials, tectonics Furniture semester, Department 11: Architecture, Design and Industrial Form The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture Philip de Langes Alle 10 Dk – 1435 Copenhagen Printed by Frederiksberg Bogtrykkeri Published in 2011 ISBN: 978-87-7830-270-0