The Chair: Material + Culture
Project 01: 2020 Chair: Material + Culture
A New Chair for a New Era
The La-Z-boy, the Chaise Lounge, the Bean Bag Chair, the Eames Side Chair – each capture the spirit of their respective ages (and an associated activity.) The La-Z-Boy is a staple of sit-com television, both on and off the screen – from Archie Bunker in the 70’s to Homer Simpson today, the La-Z-boy is uniquely linked to the remote control and the overweight male patriarch. The Chaise Lounge provided respite for corseted matrons in 19th Century French/English drawing rooms. The Eames Side Chair evokes elementary school classrooms of the baby boomer 50’s and 60’s. And a bean bag chair conjures the smell of mildewy suburban basements and brittle collector card chewing gum of the 80’s.
This age, your age, has yet to have its defining ‘machine for sitting’. What would it look like? What values are embedded in it? What kind of activity would it enable/promote?
The conceit for this project is that you, the designer, have the opportunity to present a chair concept and prototype to a group of investors looking to promote the multifunctional uses of cardboard. They are interested in developing a product that will raise awareness of cardboard as a solution to issues of the day, including but not limited to sustainability. Your solution should aim to address some aspect of our contemporary lifestyles and demonstrate the unique advantages of cardboard in achieving your goal. The target consumer is your peer group and the product will likely be sold online.
Design Drivers – Material / Manipulation
We’ll begin by exploring the material properties of cardboard by developing a ‘catalog of manipulations.’ These manipulations will become tactics that we will use to drive the design process as we begin to try to solve the requirements of a chair, structure, function and the other parameters below.
Working in this way our goal will be to ensure that the solutions that arise will remain unique to the properties of the material.
Design Parameters – Contemporary Issues
Above and beyond the base level design parameters of the chair: structure, ergonomics and function, we will aim to design towards this list of design parameters which summarizes both the specific requirements of the brief (cardboard, 20-something consumers, sold online) and the broader mandate of being relevant to this specific moment in history.
Your solution should aim to be: