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The Convergence Chair

William Alfred Clark 12.08.11 Furniture Design INTD 414


The Adirondack chair. The loyal lounge  ;OL(KPYVUKHJRJOHPYOHZSLKHUL_PZ[LUJLHZHNV[VV\[KVVY SV\UNL;OLZP[[PUNWPLJLOHZILLU[YHUZMVYTLK[VMP[THU`KPMMLYLU[ ZJLUHYPVZPU^OPJO[VIL\ZLK;OLMVYTVM[OLJOHPYOHZZLLWLKKLLW PU[V(TLYPJHUZVJPL[`»ZHWWYLJPH[PVUVM[OLV\[KVVYZ0UJS\ZPVUVM[OL JOHPYVUWVYJOLZWH[PVZKLJRZHUKSH^UZHJYVZZ[OLJV\U[Y`OPU[ZH[ [OLPTWVY[HUJL[OLJOHPYWSH`ZPUT\JOVM(TLYPJH»Z[YHKP[PVUZ ;YHKP[PVUZZWHUUPUNMYVT^LKKPUNZOVSPKH`JVVRV\[ZZ\TTLYV\[PUNZ HUKOHUNV]LYZZWLU[PUOLHSPUNYH`ZVM[OLZ\U

Simple. Sturdy. Bulky.  ,]LU^OLUJVUZ[Y\J[LKV\[VMSPNO[LY^LPNO[WSHZ[PJZHUK JVTWVZP[LTH[LYPHSZ[OL(KPYVUKHJRJOHPYJHYYPLZHI\SR`UH[\YL0U THU`ZVJPHSZP[\H[PVUZ[OLZVSPKM\YUP[\YLWPLJLWSH`ZHZHKL[YPTLU[ ;OLS\N\IYPV\ZUH[\YLTLHUZ[OH[[OLJOHPYPZOHYK[VTV]LHUKHJ[ZHZ HUHUJOVYRLLWPUNHNYV\WVM\ZLYZ[L[OLYLK[V[OLHYLH^OLYL[OLJOHPY PZWYLZLU[

Enter postwar industrialism.  (M[LY[OLLUKVM[OLZLJVUK^VYSK^HY[OL(TLYPJHUPUK\Z[YPHSLUNPUL ^HZH[M\SS[OYV[[SLHUKOHKYHUV\[VM^HYTHJOPULZ[VTHRL0[PZPU[OPZLYH [OH[[OLUL_[THQVYWSH`LYPUV\[KVVYM\YUP[\YLPZWYVK\JLK>P[OIV\U[PM\S HTV\U[ZVMHS\TPU\THUK[OLTHJOPULY`ULJLZZHY`[V^VYR[OLTL[HS[OL THQVYMHJ[VYPLZ[\YULK[VJVUZ\TLYNVVKZ6UL\UUHTLKKLZPNULY YLJVNUPaLK[OLULLKMVYSPNO[^LPNO[TVIPSLHUKJVTWHJ[HISLNHYKLU M\YUP[\YLHUKOLUJLJYLH[LKVULVM[OLTVZ[ILH\[PM\SS`[LYYPISLJYLH[PVUZ[V L_PZ["[OL-VSKPUN3H^U*OHPY4\JOVM[OLZJLUHYPVYLTHPULK[OLZHTL! V\[KVVYHWWYLJPH[PVUI\[[OPZ[PTL^P[OHT\JOJOLHWLYWYVK\J[^P[OT\JO UL^LYTH[LYPHSZ(S\TPU\T[\IPUN[VVRV]LYHZ[OLZ[Y\J[\YLVM[OLJOHPY HUKU`SVUWSHZ[PJ^LIIPUNYLWSHJLK[OL^VVKLUWSHURZ;OLHYTYLZ[ZVU[OL MVSKPUNJOHPYZHYL\Z\HSS`HJOLHWWSHZ[PJVYHS\TPU\T+\L[V[OLZ`U[L[PJ UH[\YLVMT\JOVM[OLJOHPYP[PZHISL[V^P[OZ[HUK[OLLSLTLU[ZQ\Z[HZ^LSSHZ HU(KPYVUKHJRJOHPYPMUV[IL[[LY

Cheap. Easy. Available. Flimsy.  >P[OV\[HKV\I[IV[OJOHPYZOH]LILLU]LY`Z\JJLZZM\S*V\U[SLZZTPSSPVUZVMIV[OJOHPYZOH]LILLUZVSK HUKKPZ[YPI\[LKPU[OLSHZ[`LHYZ;OLJ\S[\YHSZPNUPMPJHUJLVMIV[O[OLZLJOHPYZPZ[OL(KPYVUKHJRJOHPYOHZ[OL HK]HU[HNLVMHT\JOSVUNLYOPZ[VY`[OHUHU`V[OLYSH^UJOHPYI\[P[Z[PSSTH`SHJRPUZL]LYHSHYLHZ;OLSPNO[ ^LPNO[HUKSV^JVZ[VM[OLMVSKPUNJOHPYTHRLP[HMH]VYP[LVUSH^UZHJYVZZ[OLZ[H[LZ6U[OLV[OLYOHUK[OL MYHNPSLOHYK^HYLHUKMLLISLHS\TPU\T[\IPUNHSZVTHRLZ[OPZJOHPYHMH]VYP[LHTVUNSHUKMPSSZ>OLYLHPKLVSVNPJHS IH[[SLSPLZPZ[V[OLHYN\TLU[IL[^LLU[OLPTWVY[HUJLVMNVVKZVSPKM\YUP[\YLVMWYL]PV\ZJLU[\YPLZVYYLHKPS` H]HPSHISLZLH[PUNMVY[OLW\ISPJ>P[OIV[OJOHPYZZ\JJLZZM\SS`LZ[HISPZOLK[OL`JHUL]LU^VYRPUOHYTVU`[V WYV]PKLHTWSLZLH[PUNMVYHU`JYV^K

Lessons that these two chair types may teach us:  :VTL[PTLZHSLZZNSVYPV\ZZVS\[PVU[\YUZV\[[V^VYR[OLILZ[>OLYLPTWYV]LTLU[^HZZV\NO[PU[OL (KPYVUKHJRJOHPY[OLLUKYLZ\S[^HZPU[OL-VSKPUN3H^U*OHPY(JOHPY[OH[TVZ[KLZPNULYZQLLYH[HUKKLZWPZL 4H`ILH\UPX\LHUKIYHUKLKM\YUP[\YLWPLJLPZUV[[OLVUS`HUZ^LYHZ[OLKLZPNUJVTT\UP[`PZZVX\PJR[V ILSPL]L;OLZL[^VJOHPYZOH]LHJVTWSL[LS`VWWVZP[LMVYTKPMMLYLU[X\HSP[`VMJVUZ[Y\J[PVUHUKHIZVS\[LS` HS[LYUH[LTH[LYPHSP[`"`L[[OL`IV[OWSH`PU[V[OLZHTL]VPKZVJPL[`^HU[Z[VZH[PZM`:VJPL[`PZQ\Z[SVVRPUNMVYH JVTMVY[PISLWSHJL[VILHISL[VZP[9LSH_,UQV`[OLKH`;OLZLJOHPYZWYV]PKLHWSHJL[VZ[HY[HUKVYLUKHKH` PU[OLTVKLYUSPML,]LYZPUJL[OH[MPYZ[(KPYVUKHJRJOHPY^HZW\ZOLKVMM[OL^VYRILUJOP[^HZPTHNPULKHZH TVTLU[VMIYPLMLZJHWL1\Z[HWSHJL[VZP[[OLTVZ[IHZPJHUKPU[\P[P]LWHY[VMºJP]PSPaH[PVU»;OPZMLLSPUNPZWHY[VM ^OH[O\THUZVJPL[`OHZSVUNZ[YP]LK[VJVTWSL[L*VTMVY[MVYJVTMVY[ZZHRL 0THNL*YLKP[Z! +LZPNUIVVTJVT +MPJRLPZLU^VYKWYLZZJVT ,[Z`JVT 5HZO]PSSLHY[ZJVT

>PSSPHT(SMYLK*SHYR


The Gesture. And Gestural Chairs.

The Dancing Line JAIME VELEZ | SOM | 2008

The dancing line was a collaborative work between Jaime Velez of SOM and the Formica Corporation. The result was a modern and gestural lounge that had a clean form, monolithic construction, and a the durability of Formica laminate. The chaise was built to look as if in motion while also being a perfect form for a human body to inhabit.

The Barcelona Chair

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe | 1929 Notorious and widely known, the chair has a very tectonic quality around it. Having the solid cushions acting as a visually massive part of the set, the structure is carries the gesture of the chair. Use of stainless steel allows light to aid in the movement created by the raw form.

Other Examples:

Strongly Gestural Chairs and their designers.

The Reitveld Chair Gerrit Reitveld | 1918 www.Knoll.com www.MOMA.org www.SOM.com www.Wilkersonfurniture.com

The Wassily Chair Marcel Breuer | 1925

The Spoleto Chair Ufficio Tecnico | 1971

The Beach Chair Wilkerson | 2005 William A Clark


The Conceptual Development Rather than try to capture the essence of the Adirondack aesthetic, I moved to capture the feeling and purpose. Originally, I was expecting to create a hang-over chair.

The Final Form After much thought, sketching, and modeling, I finally settled on a form completely different to the initial one I had imagined. The long base and arms vanished completely and the entirety of the chair became focused on its own gesture. William A Clark


The Name ‘Convergence’ The name ‘Convergence’ stems from the final rendition of the chair’s gesture. Two massive, Sapele members anchor the chair to the ground. Then two light Birch plywood planes slide into the form creating a crevice between the seat and the back of the chair.

William A Clark


Modeling Convergence. Once the form was set, the task of exploring it in 3-D space became relevant. This eventually led to the armrests being removed from the design. The digital pieces were then ready to fabricate. The only CNC Milling that needed to be done occurred on a 13’ long piece of Sapele. This was drilled and later became the base of the chair. The Birch plywood would be angled as such to allow the user to sit back and relax. Sitting with feet on the ground or on the extended seat pan makes for several possible positions to aid ergonomics.

The Prototype. Once stained and assembled, the prototype is both strong enough to sit and lounge in, while using no screws, glue, or pins to keep the main members together. It breaks down into 5 pieces where it can be relocated or stored much easier than it’s Adirondack cousin.

William A Clark


The Pieces. Two rails, a seat pan with a permanent channel, one back, and a fin for stability all break down and assemble in a matter of minutes. The intuitive slots also make for a direction free assembly. Once put together, the members work in unison to create a sturdy chair, free of glue.

Rail

Fin

Seat Pan

Back Plate

Rail

William A Clark


Details. Paramount in the creation of the finished product was the necessity of precise detailing in order to ensure friction holds. All of the main members are held into place by the weight of the chair and the user without using any fasteners or glue. CNC milling was able to greatly aid with this goal due to machine precision.

William A Clark


Pressure Points Built out of solid Birch plywood, there was little given to help comfort the user besides the easy angle at which the chair sits. The shoulder blades can splay out on the back rest while the glutes take the brunt of the cushioning duty. That said, the chair is surprisingly comfortable despite the hard look of the sheet good.

William A Clark

Convergence  

A chair I designed for a furniture design studio. Based on the intersection of multiple planes without using glue or fastners.

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