QMB Quad Micro Bar
Bolder Designs Inc.
QMB Quad Micro Bar
Wow! Great choice of materials. The compact design seems appropriate for modern times.
Classy, beautiful, functional, and sleek. We want one!
Broad application for use: home, restaurants, public spaces. Well-thought-out and prototyped design. High functionality in a beautiful, compact design.
QMB Quad Micro Bar
In response to the Smaller but Better trend, I looked at how social seating might be improved by finding a way of making traditional tables and chair into a single flexible multipurpose solution. QMB combines a round bar height table with four fold-out stools to create a new type of seating experience. The main structure is CNC routed, using a single sheet of .75 finished plywood then assembled using hinges and standard fasteners. The fold out stools give the user the option to open up only the seats that are needed, then easily fold away the stools when finished2. 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?
Create and micro bar that could be used for a variety of social seating occasions such as dining, enjoying micro brews, wine tasting or as an espresso bar. Currently, bars and stools tend to be cumbersome space consuming assemblies that take up extra space when they are not in use. Also, sometimes you don't need four chairs so why not have the option of only setting out what is required, even if that means a table without any chairs. Multi-functionality seems to be the driving force of most new products and I felt that the bar/chair configuration should be re-examined, Bars especially offer the opportunity for social interaction and what better place to introduce a new type of seating solution?3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
I wanted to create a simple easy to produce product that would have broad market appeal. Since everyone needs to sit, then focusing on the chair and seating market seemed like the best approach. Having designed folding chairs, modular and portable exhibits I knew there would need to be some sort of folding mechanism to make the product unique. So, I looked at the area of social seating and discovered not much had been done to make bar height tables more functional. For the most part, everything involved tables with chairs or stools. Nobody was blending these functions into a single element. The market and space was dominated by various combination of tables and chairs with the occasional long table all still individual pieces. Having designed many portable displays, I saw the importance of maximizing the foot print and utilizing all of the space available. I then thought if you want to stand then why have a chair sitting there unused? Let the seating be available on demand. Need a seat? then open one out. Done sitting, then fold the chair away.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)
I wanted to use CNC fabrication and wood products as that seemed like the most cost effective approach. It also appealed to me as it vastly simplifies the development process and the impact of tooling costs. I live in the Northwest where high quality wood products are readily available with many wide variety of wood sheet materials so that the finishing would be low cost,efficient and local. This makes it easy to make a broader range of products depending on use: home and patio, high finish plywood works best all from a single 4' x 8' sheet of material. For outdoor or commercial use, additional laminates and substrates could be easily applied. While examining the existing products I noticed that not much had been done with regards to storage. When not being used, chairs would be pushed under the table or in some restaurants stacked on top. This did not make cleaning the floor or table top easy to do, plus in either case, the chairs are in the way and need to be handled, cleaned and inventoried . I also saw that there were instances when the user preferred to stand and the chair only got in the way. Why then have a chair taking up space when the user does not need it? I wanted to give the stakeholder maximum flexibility, high quality materials with low inventory requirement. Just in time fabrication, using off the shelf fasteners would make it possible to make small batches with high quality as the major wood parts are CNC cut and require minimal finishing.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Social Seating is the most important factor. What better place to make eye contact, face to face while sharing a beverage or ideas than while sitting or standing around a table? Providing a meeting space that can grow and adapt as needed. There also is the WOW factor as the table transforms into a bar with four seat. Everyone likes to be empowered and what better way than have the choice of standing or sitting. The choice of regional wood products also favoably impacts the sustainability factor, the right material used in an imaginative, appropriate application all fitting into a 24"x 24" foot print.6. Did the context of your project change throughout its development? If so, how did your understanding of the project change?
The DIY'ness of the product is illustrated by how high quality the Beta unit looks and functions using CNC parts. All of the pieces fit exactly on the first try and the structure exceeded the performance target of supporting more than 1500 lbs. I worked with a small fabrication shop that used a kit CNC unit and was able to use all of the parts produced. If needed it would be easy to replicates this manufacturing at multiple national or international locations. Essentially, this has the potential of being a world product, provided that local sheet materials are available. The production cost could be focused on multiple sites and not spend extra money on transportation of the finished goods making the product more carbon neutral.