The first chairs were originally sat in by only dignitaries, not regular folks. The reason why we call the head of an organization a “chairperson” is because he was the one who got to sit in the chair. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the chair became commonplace. Before that people sat on a chest, bench or stool. It wasn’t until the 1880s that the chair became common in American households and each person had a chair to sit on at dinnertime.
We spend lots of time sitting in chairs but do we really thing about their design? In 2012 The Battery, a park in lower Manhattan wanted a signature chair for its grounds so it held a chair contest. There were 679 entries from 15 countries. They narrowed the choices to five, made prototypes of each chair and allowed the public to choose with their butts! The winner was Fleurt designed by Andrew Jones Design.
Anyone can design and build a mini chair with wire and sticky-backed foam sheets. Some questions to ask yourself before creating your chair:
Where will the chair be located: kitchen/doctor’s office/outside?
How often will the chair be used?
Will people be doing an activity while sitting such as eating, reading or working?
Will this chair need to be cleaned?
Who will use the chair: adults, the elderly, kids or babies?
What are the physical characteristics of the users: height, weight, age?
What makes a successful chair?
How do chairs fail?
What is important to include into the chair’s design? Does it need armrests, etc?
What would you change about your design if you were to build a real chair?
What would happen if you built your chair without a prototype first?
In order to build a chair you will need 12 gauge floral wire, wire cutters, sticky back foam, scissors and paper and pencil to sketch out your design. If you want to see some more cool chairs check out the Doodle Art & Design Pinterest page!