The challenge of staving off sickness from sleep deprivation suddenly has a direct correlation with chair design. A class of fourth-year Architecture students at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts may be use to sleepless nights by now and even more ready to prove they have the chops to join the design elite. Each student was put to the task of making one chair per week over a 5-week course – not just designing a chair – making five chairs. As Professor and Head-of-Studies Anders Brix stated, “There is no way to understand making, other than going through the process of making”.
One Chair a Week
All together, the students designed 78 chairs (the missing submissions were likely due to exhaustion, laser cutting mishap or death by wood splinters). For all the blood, sweat and tears there are some brilliant designs… and others fit for the rubbish heap. What goes into the process of creating a chair a week?
“There can be many approaches to designing a chair. Typically students start out by making sketches, drawings and models before making final full-scale prototypes. Usually the period of time spent on the small-scale explorations expand to leave only a limited and flustered period of time to develop full-scale pieces. Many of the limitations of the design are not actually encountered until the full-scale chair is constructed.”
“In recognition of these concerns, we were very interested to explore possibilities to speed up and intensify the design and realization process. For us, it was extremely important to have some physical material at 1:1 scale to inform a series of ongoing discussions in the studio, to improve the skills in the workshops and to develop a synthesis between the material, the tectonics, and the form of the chair.”
“We decided to make an experiment and asked ourselves if it was possible to make one chair per week? It was our hunch that this could set up a productive rhythm of investigation and experimentation concentrated around the act of making.”
Albeit from me to say that up front CAD design work slows down the make process, but there’s something to be said about getting straight to the material. Below are a few select images. You can also view the 136 page book on the One Chair a Week project.