Furniture Design / Prototyping / CMF Design

Status: Ongoing Concept • 2022

The Protagonist’s Chair – a cinematic statement piece expressed as a reflection of the seated, designed through the lens of distributed manufacturing.

Foil /fɔɪl/
  1. A very thin sheet of metal noun
  2. A thing or person that contrasts with and so emphasizes and enhances the qualities of the protagonist noun
  3. To enhance by contrast verb

1.0 // Approach & Concept

In part inspired by the use of architecture in cinema to contextually enhance or reinforce the qualities of a character within a scene, the project set off as an exploration in the ability of a curated surrounding or object to reflect a subject. The design would eventually become a character in itself and perhaps, more relevantly, a reflection of myself.

Concurrently designing for distributed manufacturing with an emphasis on employing standard material sections and sheets, the approach was nevertheless lateral in scope and unconstrainted in form.

2.0 // Ideation

The first explorations began with an explosive spray of forms and concepts onto a 10m roll of paper.

2.1 // Distilled Ideas

Reining in the immense web of threads, three ideas were developed.

3.0 // Prototype 0.1 – 0.5

A further exploration in small card models.

4.0 // Back to the Drawing Board

Unsatisfied with the directions taken so far, a refocus on the initial values of the project brought about another design concept; more simplistic in its elegance and more closely married to the methodologies of distributed manufacturing.

4.1 // Material Explorations

Refining the concept through a series of physical, formal experiments on the material and spatial qualities of twisted sheet metal.

4.2 // Prototype 1.0

Exploring a variation of the design with a wooden seat component, prototype 1.0 was a roughly 1:5 scale study model made for testing form, materiality and manufacturing processes.

5.0 // Prototype 2.0: CAD

Detail dimensions were refined in Rhino, referring continuously to existing chair ergonomics.

5.1 // Prototype 2.0: Twisting & Welding

Metalwork for prototype 2.0 was achieved through relatively simple processes.

5.2 // Prototype 2.0: Surface Finish

A brushed, streaked finish was chosen to accentuate the twists and tensions in the form.

5.3 // Prototype 2.0

The latest prototype is a full scale mock-up and manufacturing trial. 

6.0 // Work in Progress

Prototype 3 is currently in development with further work being done on refining ergonomics and finalising the design of the leather strips.

© Sebastian Tam 2022