Designer and fabricator
After spending a year working with furniture designer and woodworker Jared Rusten, I decided to put the skills and knowledge I learned to practice and make an attempt at building a chair of my own design.
With a chair being such a unique and intricate design challenge, it was necessary to narrow the scope of the project. The parameters I chose to focus on were comfort as a first priority and to use a non-upholstered design. I also wanted the chair to look good from all angles by itself without a person seated in it, and to frame and compliment a person when they were seated in it.
I wanted to include elements beyond just seating itself and decided on adding leather accents at the end of the armrests. The leather cords give the user an artifact to interact with so the seated person is never empty handed. Rather than using traditional wooden plugs to hide fasteners, the leather motif is continued with the leather cord wound into plugs.
The chair's seat and back are made of Eastern Black Walnut, while the frame is made of White Oak.
The form of the chair sprung from a lot of sketching, both studying existing chairs, as well as exploring different forms without any visual guides.
Once a rough geometry was settled on, I began sketching out the details. After making a drawing by hand and building a prototype, both in full scale, I modeled the design in CAD to more easily calculate geometry and generate fabrication drawings.
A major technical challenge that arose was deciphering the necessary clamping setup for gluing up the frame of the chair. With multiple angles and the high clamping forces, cauls had to be designed and built with strength and precision.
A chair is an undertaking that provides instant gratification upon completion. After the last coat of wax is applied, have a seat, take a deep breath, and relax. Thanks to my chair models JoJo Black, Laura Cohen, Ty Lindemans, and Travis White. And thanks to Jared Rusten for his mentorship and guidance.