Backrest, footrest and materials

Materials, form and function is by far the hardest parts to balance right when designing a chair. In this post I am going to talk about my choices in materials and how it influences the form of the chair.

Famous designs showing excellent and inspiring choices when it comes to materials, shape and function.

Jean Prouvè:

One of my biggest inspirations to industrial design is Jean Prouvè(1901-84). He was a self-taught French architect and furniture maker who believed that design was a moral issue.

The standard chair: 

The Standard chair was designed for the university of Nancy, and the focus was to make a chair that would last forever. Since chairs take most of the strain on the back legs, he designed the front legs in lightweight tubular piping, and the back legs in a wide hollow section which passes the weight down to the floor.

Marc Newson:

Marc Newson is a rockstar when it comes to industrial design, and his ability to think differently about everyday objects is inspiring.

The body jet and the spaceplan: 

Two of his conceptual designs that I find extremely cool and relevant to my project is “The body jet” and “the spaceplan”.

The body jet is made for conceptual manners, and Marc Newson`s intentions was to create something that looked like a commercial jet pack. I really like his passion for bright colors, and how he uses color to separate different parts and functions in his design. 

All the unfriendly parts like the engine, exhaust and landing gear are colored in black, while the “seat” is colored bright yellow. On the top over the pilots head you find an emergency loop in black and yellow which can be pulled to deploy a parachute.

The spaceplan is also a conceptual design to promote “Astrium”, Europes biggest producer of rockets. The brief was to design a airplane that could take people to space.

In this design his intention is to remove all technical equipment and focus on the physical parts that humans will interact with.

Just like the body jet, he uses the bright yellow color to express interactive parts. Many windows offer different viewing angles, and the bright yellow handles all over the cabin help people move around in zero gravity.

My chair

Marc Newson and Jean Prouve has been big inspirations when deciding materials, color and form in my design.

Since the chair I am designing has to withstand huge forces and a lot of wear and tear, I have made the parts that are under the biggest amount of  stress bulky and rigid.

The parts that are mostly for support that doesn’t need to carry a lot of weight are in thin, but strong water cutted steel.

On this picture you can see how I have used bulky pieces for the legs and the connecting piece that connects everything together. The backrest and the footrest are made from 1cm and 0,5cm thick steel which have been cutted and bended.


The process of making the backrest:

This process of cutting out the shape before bending it into the right shape, makes the backrest both functional and stiff.

Support handle.

On the top of the backrest I have made handles for either the captain or visitor can use for support while at sea.

I made 2 different versions of the handle, and have now ended un using the mounted tubular handle in bright yellow.


The footrest:

The footrest is made in a slightly thinner steel than the backrest (0,5cm). This part of the chair is only for support, and by having it rotating it can be used in many different positions.


On the footrest I have added bright yellow rubber dots for protection and friction.








Jean prouve:


Marc Newson:


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