Shrestha Kedia / National Institute of Design in Ahmedadad, India
Takshaka Interiors Pvt. Ltd.
It reminds me of early 1960s design, but I like the idea. It seems fun. – Helen Maria Nugent
It seems like it would be a pretty awesome kids chair. – Chris Force
‘Bellow Chair’ was a part of my final semester Diploma Project. The client for the project was an upholstered wooden furniture manufacturing firm intending to launch furniture range for youngsters and children in urban India. Bellow Chair is a chair with flexible body which can accommodate body movements while sitting besides being a playful character with its form, color and a soft cushioned body. The chair was made using the standard materials and skill sets available with the firm but used in a non-traditional way.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The chair to be designed was aimed at the youngsters and children for whom a piece of furniture extends beyond its functional value and conventional notions. The brief was to create a fun piece for practical seating which would appeal to the young through its aesthetics, user experience and character and which could be easily manufactured in house using the limited conventional material, technology and skill sets available with the client. The challenge here was to use the client’s conventional manufacturing facilities and materials in an unconventional way to create a piece of furniture identifiably different from existing market offerings, without compromising on its basic functional value.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
Since the chair was aimed at youngsters and children, one of the very essential behavioral quality observed while they sit is their constant movement and fidgeting. In such a case, chairs of rigid framework prove to be a hindrance, a captivating and obstructive structure. Flexibility in chair is usually incorporated using mechanical components and hardware. I intended to design a chair with a soft and flexible mass, accommodating the users movements while sitting, courtesy the form and material keeping the material and manufacturing constraints in mind.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The project started off by interviewing and understanding the user and their expectations from a chair that they would aspire for. Much emphasis apart from its basic functions of supporting the body was laid on 1. increasing the comfort factor, more than a standard chair but less casual than a couch. 2. Attractive looking product which would add vibrancy to the room and act as an accent piece. This combined with the client’s consideration to be able to produce the chair using in house manufacturing and material constraints was the take off point for the project.
After initial ideation on paper, more emphasis was laid on experimenting with several mock up models in foam and paper. A full-scale experimentation with different ring sizes and their stacking to achieve the desired external and internal form was carried out before finalizing on the final four. The last phase sorted out was joining and upholstering the chair (with a knit fabric) into one unit which was performed manually by the master tailor. Once all the methodology and the dimensions were decided on, the chair was ready to be easily duplicated as per requirement.
The project impacts our notion of what can be done with the age old materials and technology in furniture industry and the role assigned to each material in the making of a furniture piece. Bellow Chair’s non-conventional aesthetic and behavior with its easy to be produced approach which can be followed by the conventional setups. This proves that there is still scope of viewing of what we assume to be used and behave in a certain manner, in a different light.