Can you think of a more uncomfortable chair to sit in than an airport chair? I can’t. Add to that the delight of sharing the vast majority of the world’s germs, bacteria and food particles with the other happy people at the airport and really, sitting just doesn’t get any better. One thing that can make it better though, is a better chair for your derrière.

SolidWorks is posing just the challenge to you in the SolidWorks Green Design Contest. The goal? Modify a chair design to be lower impact, and hopefully a bit more stylish than that sheety tube chunk above. Oh, you’ll like this too. The top prize… a trip to a Eco-resort in Belize… fire up the jet engines.

I have the honor of being one of the judges for the Airport Chair Design Contest. I and six others will be looking at creativity, appeal, material use and manufacturability. I’m not saying it will help you win, but using a renewable resource in the design… like bacon, may improve your chances. (‘ve just been informed that ‘bacon’ is not a suitable material for a chair and is also not in the list of materials analyzed by SolidWorks SustainabilityXpress… working to get that changed.) Here are all the details.

Who can Play?

There are three categories and prizes for:

  • Professionals
  • Students
  • Resellers

The Checklist

If you need a little more details than just, ‘make it awesome’:

  • Form – Single-body part file. Comfy to sit in for 20 minutes.
  • Function – Use SimulationXpress. Attached to floor, able to take 250 lb download, 50 lb side load with 2x FoS.
  • Environment – Use SolidWorks SustanabilityXpress. Single material for chair used in North America.
  • Judged on – Creativity, Appeal, Sustainability results, Manufacturability

The Submission

  • A 250 word description of your idea
  • SimulationXpress results (Word doc)
  • SustainabilityXpress results (Word doc)
  • Your SolidWorks Part file (.SLDPRT)

The Prizes


  • Grand Prize (1): Four nights at Chaa Creek Rainforest Eco Lodge in Belize
  • Runners Up (5): Apple® iPad® 2 with Wi-Fi mobile digital device
  • Honorable Mentions (20): SolidWorks Gear


  • First & Second Place (2): A trip for two to SolidWorks World 2012 in San Diego, CA
  • Runners Up (5): Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi mobile digital device
  • Honorable Mentions (20): SolidWorks Gear


  • Winning Entries (3): Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi mobile digital device

The Judges

Along with myself, your entry will be judged by:
• Al Dean, Editor-in-Chief, Develop3D and Develop3D Sustainability magazines
• Sol Diamond, Assistant Professor, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College
• Mark Buckley, VP of Environmental Affairs, Staples
• Stephen Endersby, Simulation Product Manager, SolidWorks
• Rick Chin, Director of Product Innovation, SolidWorks
• Asheen Phansey, Sustainability Product Manager, SolidWorks

And some final details. I’ve been assured that all entrants will retain rights to their design but grant a non-exclusive license to SolidWorks. This means you basically grant them a license to use the chair for any reason or purpose they choose, which in most cases would mean your design plastered on SolidWorks marketing material or in a presentation. Ready?

Enter the SolidWorks Green Design Contest

Some Inspiration

One of my favorite airport chair designs is Werner Sobek’s Airport Chair. Clean, modern and minimal with the added ability to recline.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.