“A chair is only finished when someone sits in it.”
Hans J. Wegner, furniture designer
We have designed chairs.
It was one of the most interesting sessions we have had. A chair is a simple but elaborate object that can spark really engaging conversations.
We began talking about chair design. We talked about the function of a chair, and the relation between the human body and furniture design. This connects to
the session about human proportions we previously did. We discussed the design process of a chair, starting with the function of the object, then the parts, the shape, and finally the materials. I wanted them to focused in the main parts of a chair – seat, back, and legs – always keeping in mind the final purpose of the object: a chair is an object for a person to sit on.
We watched images of some of the most iconic chairs of the 20th century, praised for their design. And not by chance, many of these chairs were design by architects.
After that they were ready to design and built a small model of a chair. The Primary group used different recycled materials to make the chairs. They decided the shape of the parts as they picked and tested the materials we had. It was a little more challenging for the Secondary group. I gave to them only one
material at a time to design every chair. Once they got the model, they could move on to the next material, and to designing the next chair. The shape and type was up to them, the constraint was one material for one chair.
The models came out wonderfully, with a good variety of designs in the two groups. They worked with this seemingly simple and everyday object, which is so common for us that we normally take for granted. I think it has been a great project to immerse yourself in the design process and realize how much you can learn from the objects that surround us.
I would like to share this charming video of the popular designers Charles and Ray Eames. It is a television show, broadcasted in 1956, featuring the couple and their famous chairs. Enjoy!