DAAP Chair Summer 2012 - Done

As some of you know UC is switching over to semesters next year so as a result my summer chair building quarter is only 7 weeks long. Because of the compressed timeline I’m going to try my best to use this thread to keep myself on task and get feedback etc.

I am hoping to build a lounge chair by the end of the quarter. Not a curl up and take a nap type of lounge chair, but a more active seating position chair for reading or relaxing, and ideally if time allows, I’d like to design and build a matching ottoman as well.

My personal objectives for the project are fairly simple:

The disassembly is mainly important because I will be lugging this thing around the country when I graduate a year from now so ideally if it can break down for transport that would be great. However I’m not planning on having the whole thing flat pack as a constraint.

I just wrapped up a post-it note ideation session, mainly just exploring different architectures and stances.

The next step with be taking about 20-30 of the doodles to a more refined sketch as well as putting together some mood/trend boards. More to come soon!

Cool sketches! This post-it wall would make a nice interior design element for a studio :slight_smile:
Looking forward to the next steps of the project.

Looking good Choto, Might want to start looking into manufacturing techniques and see how that can influence design elements. Jon Panichella just did this kerfed plywood for his senior thesis and lent it self to some cool designelements. http://www.builtbybots.com/. Might be interesting for the flat pack take.

Also if you havent checked it out. awoltrends.com has some good trend research. Not furniture specific, but a good spring board.

Hot sketches! I love a good initial blast like that!

Now that is out of your system, I agree with Emmanuel, start thinkin about what fabrication techniques you want to explore and/or feel comfortable with and go back and do another burst of concepts based on that.

Those sketches are beautiful

Really wish we did a chair project, I think they are fascinating. Can’t wait to see how it goes !

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I will have a major update this weekend, wrapping up my current internship tomorrow.

Eman, good call on that Awol site, some pretty nice inspiration!

in a compressed quarter your going to have to make some hard choices, even though that’s what the chair quarter is about to start with.
Undergraduate hand skills typically limit you to: cut plywood, bent plywood, bent tubing, bent sheet metal and simple upholstry (no concave surfaces). Unless you have the rescources to use more advanced techniques, like hire a pro to make some parts execute a process.
Rapid prototyping can be a huge help, lazer cutting steel parts or CNC’ing shapes or joinery in solid wood.
But making the best tradoffs is where most undergrads fall down. They either go way too ambitious and only have a stack of parts for Crit or they go way too timid and have a very chunky and over built chair.
Take your sketches and carefully think about how they get made, assembled and finished off. Dont try to make an ottoman unless your certain you have time and don’t design the chair from only one view (it’s very tempting) be sure it’s not a box.
looking forward to the updates…

Great observations no-spec. The “hand skill” caveat is a killer for sure; the desire for the mind’s eye to be fulfilled is a tough nut to crack at the beginning of ones career, and not being able to personally produce an item can be a real damper on creativity. But it comes, by and by. I guess I’m Ludditian enough to resist the CNC path (no pun intended) and hold to the old way of making things … by hand. But in a limited time situation (is there any other kind…?) it can’t be beat.

Hard to keep in mind that the end result is what will be critiqued, and not the journey.

My vote; human scale, inviting proportions, combination of materials.

Thanks for the perspective Lmo and nospec, really helps frame things. I have definitely fallen into the trap of pushing too far with past school projects and ended up getting burned at the end of quarter and this is definitely a project that I will dial it back and make sure the execution is on point.

I am a decent MIG welder and have some experience with TIG for stainless so more than likely I will be leveraging that skill set, and I know my way around a sewing machine and have access to some commercial grade machines so will probably upholster myself. I would like to build as much of this with my own two hands as possible, not only for the experience but also because I can control timelines better (hopefully). But if it makes sense time wise I definitely won’t hesitate to outsource.

I’d encourage you to outsource something before you graduate however, it’s a valuable experience.
Steel frame with upholstry is a great starting point, as you draw concepts keep one thing in mind: soft and or bony body parts need lots of padding when resting on steel. Students often have built hard edges under the leg muscles or across the shoulder blades.

Matt…as usual very impressive. I look forward seeing your progression. There is a lot of great advice here so I will not repeat. Keep us posted and keep ut the great work.


Back at the project been backed up with the moving process.

After some discussion with classmates and some the feedback from here I’m leaning more in the direction of the welded metal frame and upholstered cushions. Ideally I would like to do leather, but some synthetic fabric might be on the table as well. If I do stainless I will probably leave it as a raw brushed steel, or if I do mild steel I will be powder coating at one of the local places.

A11, A9, and A6 are a couple of the directions that I am feeling right now. Comfort and fit and finish are definitely my main objectives with this project, and I definitely want to refine as many of the little details as possible, seams, weld joints, hardware selection etc., and maybe spice it up with some chromatic accents since it’s going to be a rather simple, undramatic chair.

Thanks for all the great input so far!

diggin the directions man! I think the front legs on A11 could end up being a really neat element if you ran with it for sure.

Been really busy with portfolio/next internship search so I haven’t been as diligent about documenting as I’m going along, but here is a quick update.

I’ve been drawn to the angular framework aesthetic for the base, and have been riffing off a Lunar Lander stance on some of the concepts.

I’ve also been spending time practicing my welding. I’m planning on die grinding and filing down the welds to create controlled filleted connection points rather than the typical tack welded look I’ve seen on high end modern furniture.

The weld on the left was one of many practice welds for joining round rod to 10 gauge plate for load bearing. Right weld was a practice blend, I’m going to pic up some nice flap disks since the carbide burrs that I’m using are pretty aggresive at taking off material as you can see the small dip where I ate into the 1/2" rod too much.

I’ve settled on doing a lounge chair and ottoman configuration, with a matte black welded steel frame, and leather upholstered pillows. Still dialing in the design not really to happy with the stance of the legs and the visual clutter. Might go back the leg configuration of 2B which is cleaner less cluttered.

Have also made a trip to the local leather supplier will be going and am leaning to a lighter brown distressed leather.

I’m thinking about dropping the lunar lander feet sliding pads and just terminating at the welded joint. The more I look at it there’s just way to much going on in the base at the moment and it’s loosing some of the light, airiness I wanted.

Any thoughts or feedback would be great, still dialing everything in so fresh eyes would be great!

Quick redo of the base, trying to get rid of the visual clutter.

Matt, have you considered brazing? get the heat right and it will flow out nicely. minimal secondary work. Plenty of strength, although your fitting work needs to be a bit tighter than “welding”.

some kind of foot is a very good idea considering a lifespan of use. steel nubs will dig through every floor surface you ever live on.
also consider wrapping the 2 leading edges of steel with padding, at the back and seat. comfortable seating accomodates a wide range of postures - like I mentioned earlier about the backs of the legs and shoulders hitting against a hard edge.
looks very cool and do-able, nice work.

nice job so far.

I was going to say A-12 was my fav but I guess it’s too late for that. The front 3/4 has some good ideas. Could be extrapolated into a lot of different materials too.
The proportions of the one you’re developing look pretty good. The bracket on the seat back and pan are aching for some attention.

Looks cool, I love the lunar lander look. You definitely want some feet under those sharp points. I think you might have some deflection issues, especially at the front, with the legs splayed out so far from the direction of the load. That’s putting a lot of stress through that upper weld joint too.

Thanks for the feedback everyone

Lmo: I have done some brazing about 5 years ago, I wouldn’t trust myself to make anything structural though. The post work on grinding the welds actually goes pretty quickly with the right carbide burrs and metal files. I did a quick test and ground this weld bead down and it only took 20-30 minutes of work. Once I hit it with a couple grits of flap wheels up to 220 I think it will be a nice transition once powder coated flat black.

no_spec: Yeah, I definitely will need some feet, I think the circle was just throwing it all off, did a couple of iterations, I’m leaning towards the square feet, ties in better with the back bracket I think.

As far as the cushioning goes I am planning on combining two different densities of foam. The lower layer will be a much denser 6lb foam that does not compress much. The front edge of the cushion will overhang the sheet metal and I am expecting the denser foam to prevent you from feeling the metal edge. The second layer is a softer foam that will create the cradling necessary to distribute the body weight and make the chair comfortable. Then a layer of batting and the final upholstered surface.

Scott: I’m a little worried about splay in the front legs as well. Going to do some tests this week, worst case scenario I will add a cross bar to tie them together.

Brett: I am playing around with the idea of having a layer of leather sandwiched between the bracket and the seat pan that I will laser etch the logo and serial number onto. I am also debating if I want to switch to just one lower flange rather than two. The two flange option I thought would be necessary before when I had the seat pan and back as separate. But now that it is one piece of sheet metal should be fine. I have some more thinking to do on this one, its still not there.

Next I need to spend some time on the cushion designs since they are looking pretty unresolved. I’m hoping to get some quotes back today from the guys that will be doing my sheet metal seat.

Thanks again for the feedback.