Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cardboard Chair

Oh yes, you read the title correctly. For one of my architecture classes my design collaboration group and I were required to design and build a chair out of cardboard, strong enough to hold a 200 pound person. Challenge accepted.
Although this isn't really a "tutorial" I still thought it would be fun to share the process and final product.

We all had different ideas in our heads to begin with but we agreed notching the cardboard and making a kind of "honeycomb" would make the chair structurally sound. Did I mention we couldn't use glue or any other hardware?

We started with a basic shape I sketched with the plan to replicate it 4 or 5 times.

Next, we created a tiny incomplete model to test the integrity of the chair and see if it would hold 15 pounds.

To our delight, it did!

Although we wanted to charge full steam ahead and start building the final thing, I decided to build a half-inch scale model to save ourselves the headache and possible heartbreak of failure. We needed to see how all the pieces would be cut out and fit together as a whole.

Work in progress...

Fitting it all together...

(Finalized model)

 I was so happy with how it turned out!

(Two models together.)

And imagine my excitement when I figured out I could sit in the little chair and not crush it!

At this point we knew we were going to need large sheets of cardboard with no bends or holes in it for the final product. Can I just tell you that sheets of cardboard are harder to find than the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?! 
But, we weren't going to let a little thing like that stop us.

And we found cardboard...

(This wasn't even all of it. Suffice it to say we were drowning in cardboard!)

As a side note: Do you know how hard it is to work on a chair when there is a sleeping kitten on it?

(Best distraction ever.)

We repeated the process used for the half-inch scale model at full size and in no time had our finalized chair!

The seat is 18" high (from the ground) and the back is 36" high, so it's an average size chair that is around 1 pound and 100% recyclable!

I have to say I'm really proud of the final result. Given our restrictions and requirements it turned out well. Some of my group mates had never experienced dreaming up an idea and then making it a tangible reality so it was really fun to see their excitement as we worked on this together. 

It's always exhilarating for me to so this kind of work, especially for school, and sometimes I have to take a step back and pinch myself to make sure it's real. 

P.S. I wrote this sitting in the cardboard chair :)