Ideas

This process started out with the idea to design an object with materials that weren’t permanently fixed together. This would allow for greater repairability, customisability and a prolonged life before the inevitable End Of Life of the object. I’m not just talking about modularity, but striving towards making monomaterial, separable parts. A nudge into the direction of creating circular economy compatible objects.

The main thing I wanted to explore with this design was too see if it is possible to design with these kinds of principles about material use and modularity, without losing out on functionality. More integrated materials in a design often give advantages in achieving top notch functionality, trading in things like repairability, customisability and recyclability. I wanted to challenge that idea, not by thinking of complex processes for making the latter happen in an integrated design, but rather designing to the advantages of total modularity without giving in on form and functionality.

Chair X-1 Sketch

Scale Model

I made several 1:3 models using a laser cutter to test proportions and construction methods. The forces in the plywood and elastic cord don't scale one to one, but making scale models with the laser cutter allowed me to iterate quickly and significantly improve the design before starting on the full size prototype.

1:1 Prototype

All of the wooden parts the chair is made up of are CNC milled out of 24 mm thick birch plywood. Before any milling took place I thoroughly tested all woodworking and varnishing operations on the test piece you can see in the picture below, ensuring there would be no nasty surprises during the final build.

Chair X-1 material test

Before this project I had never really designed anything out of wood, or used a CNC milling machine. Therefore I made sure to evaluate the design thoroughly with people experienced in woodworking and CNC milling.

Chair X-1 Prototype Build 1

Chair X-1 Prototype Build 2

It's a rather primitive design, wood held together by rope. On the other hand, the structural integrity of the chair is not completely dependent on a few screws or glue. Even if the elastic cord fails, the chair will not fall apart: you can still sit on it.

Chair X-1 Prototype

Links

Download 3D files Portfolio: stijnvancuijk.com Contact: [email protected]


Chair X-1 is a 5 week design project I completed just before beginning my graduation for HAN Industrial Product Design. I had been thinking about modularity in furniture for some time during a project I took part in about small- and co-living. When my friend told me about Shibari (or "Kinbaku-bi", a japanese form of bondage literally translating to "the beauty of tight binding"), she sparked an idea which eventually evolved into this project.

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank various people for their contribution to this project; Skip van de Kandelaar (CNC Milling); Gijs Ebben (Photography); Thijs Mulling (Design critique); Maarten Roos (Design critique).


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