"coat hanger" bench

Oh man this burns me up. On the core blog there was this award winning piece http://www.thersa.org/exh/artist/viewer.asp?projectid=015&workid=015_SD&imgid=015-SD-01.jpg now its sure is pretty, and a hell of a rending but AS DRAWN IT WILL NOT WORK! Why you ask, well lets look at it in detail, you have a huge bening momen on the front or back of the seating area, being suppored by 2 very modest solid wires, do a quick back of the hand calucation and the deflection huge. Yes the loads are carried by more than one element but the numbers dont wash. Lets now look at what happens in torsion, yup each element can move around the axis of the attachement point, so that means the front is opening up the back closing, making the gaps 2-3-4 X the staring gap on the front and pinching on the back. Ok the solution would be simple 2 rods welded to each element all the way down, dont screw up the design much but shit why didnt the judges go “hey kid, draw it so it will function”…naw never happen

dude, its a concept. chill.


zippy lives in the real world, remember?

with Zippy

These “small details” in construction are important as they could ruin or ad to the design.

In Art scool one of my teachers said “ideas are like farts every one has them”.
Meaning that an idea is good but as a designer you should take it to the level of reality (even if its a drawing/rendering)


Maybe this is an idea for a one hour design challenge. Develop a piece of furniture that defies the laws of physics, but in the sick rendering, can fool the largest amount of judges into thinking it will work. Who’s with me?

I’m with Zippy, in that I’m tired of this endless line of poorly thought out, “the joke is on us” concepts that are lauded as “creative”. A truly creative concept would be one that delivers the same emotional punch, but works and is profitable and doesn’t destroy the earth and sustains the winds of trends to remain a classic that people don’t toss out next week for the next “must have” design. Now how many of those can we think to post on the blog?

I think this has to do with the quick increase and ease of having “Design Blogs” everywhere on the internet. Publishing becomes so easy. Since a published item always looks more legitimate than one that isn’t, the mass number of blogs have encouraged such concept projects to be put out. I mean, there really isn’t an editor there to filter works that aren’t worthy unlike a magazine publisher. I wonder if these designers actually include these blog publishing records on their resumes.

well boys and girls that there coathanger bench won this award http://www.thersa.org/exh/artist/artist.asp?artid=014 its made of “8mm steel” ya right. I swear by my pretty blue bonnet that is BULLSHIT…8 mm LOL. it was "designed to not be too comfortable (no back) ya getting pinched in the ass, tossed on the floor is not too comfortable in my book!

Dude, its a “award winning design”…and SHITE at that too.

Any one can give out awards these days. I can set up a design site and hold a competition, giving “awards” away in the forms of publication and recognition without spending an extra penny.

obviously some here dont appreciate the purpose of a “concept”. normally, in most creative fields, its to explore ideas, express a statement, or propose new ways of thinking.

there is a difference it was posted as a final product, or something you saw in a shop (done/production) that didnt work.

im not saying this particular concept works. in fact, i agree with zippy that likely the structure would have to be beefed up, or reinforced.

still, that that could be done in a way that doesnt change the concept.

if explorations such as this didnt exist, or weren’t encouraged, we’d likely not have some of the classics of design, such as the eames chair, or molded panton chair, that when produced as concept, were not readily viable for production (not until a later date when fiberglass technology from wartime development / large scale injection molding became possible).

this concept is certainly within the realm of reality. if it relied on anti-gravity, or a space-warp and was set for production, i’d be the first one as well to call BS, but its a student project, with a nice exploration of form, function and materials. thats all.

my 0.015$ worth (adjusted for the apparently decreased value of creativity shown in the above commments).


During my sophomore year I did a project that proposed a self-powered cookware, using battery of course.

The semester that followed, I had a chance to present my portfolio to companies that came to school to give portfolio crits. When I presented that cookware project, one interviewer totally dismissed my entire proposal saying that there’s no way a battery can provide enough power to cook and yet be light enough to be tossed around. Well, I was really disappointed. So from that day, I told myself that all my future projects will not feature anything that someone can pick on, even if it has little to do with the core concept.

I don’t know if I could have gone further or not if I didn’t have that “rule” on myself, but that was quite a bummer moment.

and completely excluded that project from my portfolio.

My opinion? I will give credits where its due. If a thought is valid but the other features don’t support it, I will, instead of dismissing the entire proposal, give inputs on how it can work better. Anyone can dismiss anything, but it’s through helping the person improve that makes the act responsible.

So I guess the question here will be, how would you maintain the core concept of this design proposal and make it work better?

interesting post, cow.

one thing id like to point out however is the difference in your concept with the battery powered cookware vs. this seating.

the fundamental concept of your project, sounds a little off i’d agree. without knowing more (is it handheld, for a future kitchen environment, what kind of cooking, etc.) perhaps the concept core wasnt based on reality that could indeed effect the overall perception of the project/your skills. if the core of your concept was more focused on handheld cooking tools, and communicated differently perhaps the concept could have stood through, with the technical solution (batteries) being up for debate (instead using propane? etc.).

the bench however, at its core is a concept of more a aesthetic solution, based on the visual of the coathanger look, and a wave shape of seating. at its core, its fundamentally sounds, but perhaps the execution or final spec is in need of some help.

just saying that concepts are concepts, and there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater in some cases.


It’s a cookware for students living in dorms, something that is sort of compact and cooks firelessly, and can be used as a serving pot at the same time. So the student can cook and eat from one item(which is what they are already doing anyways). I do agree that the battery proposal was far from being mature, but I wished that interviewer would pay more attention to the concept of a solution for dorm residents who are usually forbidden from cooking.

Anyways, that was a long time ago before I could say I understood what design is about.

sounds like a pretty reasonable concept. something like an induction element (like a kettle) i imagine would work…

ah… the student days of making macaroni and cheese / ramen noodles in a hotpot…


Yes it was induction, but it is induction that also requires a relatively great deal of power to run, something which the battery technology then wasn’t capable of.

If you really want to be realistic, then you will also have to consider political and economic factors For an example, if a proposal uses alternative energy, how are you going to prevent the petroleum companies from hindering the promotion of such technology? How are you going to convince the consumers from participating in the (now) more expensive technology, and changes in their lifestyles? These aren’t the kind of questions that a design student is expected to answer, but are probably more realistic than the technicalities of a design. So must a design student be a politician, anthropologist and economist at the same time? If not, why must he/she be an engineer?

So I am for a more constructive approach, to encourage the all-roundedness and completeness of a design solution, instead of bashing at its immaturity.

So in the end RK your just one dimensional stylist, I am from a differnet mind set that is summed up here.

“ Inventor pioneers have a responsibility to society requiring that they render their publicly exposed inventions in so competent a manner as to provide means of judging the relative merits of the invention unembarrassed by shoddy, makeshift irrelevancies.” B. Fuller

I think we are all trying to be objective here.

RK’s point is that the bench project has its core value focused on an aesthetic style, therefore there isn’t as much need to criticize on its technicality as opposed to the success or failure on its attempt to generate a new style.

I think the purpose of the bench project is not about creating a break through in the field of furniture ergonomics or structural science, but a stylistic inspiration that may result in many other feasible designs in the future.

Isn’t that what concept designs do?

Yup just a style, nothing more.

I’m sitting in a hotel room, and I was kind of curious how far off this design was, so I spent 5 minutes doing a quick FEA analysis of a single element of this bench. I assumed a 10 pound end load- this is based on a 250lb person sitting right on the edge, with a 16in wide ass (there are 16mm between coat hangers, or about 25 per 16"). That’s far from a worst case scenario in this country. I assumed the bench was 24" deep overall- a shallower bench would perform better. I used 8mm diameter mild steel as my material.

Anyway, under this loading condition, there’s about a 1/2" deflection on the end. That’s a lot. Peak stress (down in the corner where the angle meets the vertical piece) is 104000 PSI. Mild steel starts to bend at around half that. So the design as presented is not acceptable.

If you go up to 15mm rod, however, it’s fine (at least for this load case). Factor of Safety goes up to 2.8, and the deflection is about 1mm. So the design is more or less feasible from a technical standpoint.

My load case wasn’t nearly as conservative as it would need to be for public seating though. You can’t have a teenager jump on the bench to impress his friends and destroy it. I would expect in production you’d end up with something like 20mm rod, and probably a shallower bench.

Thanks for the details scot, you could go up to a spring steel OTMB like ASTM A-229 but wheeeeeeee thats going to be spendy.