Alex Carroll
Industrial Designer. Human Being.
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Sella

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Sella

Sella is a custom, mid-century inspired lounge chair handcrafted from a single 4'x8' sheet of cardboard.

 
 

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of this project is to accurately measure a client, asses their needs- physical and otherwise and subsequently design cardboard seating specifically for them that permits them to perform a desired task. Success will be measured not just in how well the seating device fits the client and it’s overall aesthetics but also in how it facilitates the specific task for which it is intended (as well as the designers craft/skill represented in 2D and 3D deliverables).

GOALS:

• To demonstrate an understanding of how the human body impacts form decisions
• To gain experience designing a product based on user driven objectives and criteria
• To understand how structural considerations and requirements impact product form and vise versa
• To gain experience in creative problem solving, visualizing and sketching proposed concepts, and physical fabrication of 3D solutions.

 
 
 
 
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Meet my classmate, Bruno. 

Age: 23
Height: 5’7”
Weight: Rude to ask
Hobbies: Photography, reading, designing cool stuff

Design Criteria:

•    A seat he can lounge in
•    Wide and deep enough to sit with legs crossed
•    Comfortable for long-term sitting
•    Adhering to style cues of Mid-Century Modern era

 
 
 

IDEATION

 

Consulting with my client, I gained a sense of Bruno's aesthetic and stylistic likes and dislikes. The seating device needed to fit in with his home decor- a hodgepodge of mid-century modern and "broke college student". He informed me he wanted a seating device that he could relax in- something he could lounge in to read a book. Or maybe a stool that he could sit at his counter with. With further encouragement, he gave me some focus words that he wanted his seating device to embody. Classic. Warm. Strong. I set off developing a mood board to insure that I had a grasp of my client's desires. 

 
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With my client's approval, it was time to sketch.

 
 
 
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Throughout the ideation process, I kept mood board in front on me to constantly take style cues and inspiration from. I tried to restrain my quick sketches into a mid-century modern style that could also serve his seating requirements. But overall, this process was about getting ideas on the table to take back and show my client. 

 
 
 

PROTOTYPING

 

AFTER MORE COMMUNICATION WITH BRUNO, we agreed on a more comfortable, lounge chair instead of a bar stool. Two-dimensional sketches were quickly translated into small-scale, three-dimensional models. These models help me flush out the forms and bring more clarity to the ideation process. Because chipboard is so similar to cardboard, I was able to start thinking about construction methods as well. 

 
 
 
 
 

Bellow is the design we chose to move forward with. The chair has a low seat height and a steep lean to the back rest. This, combined with the wide seat and up-curved wings allow for a relaxed seating position with legs crossed if desired. It successfully met Bruno’s seating requirements while maintaining an aesthetic he felt matched his personal style. 

 
 
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The first prototype was a quick and dirty full-size model of my three dimensional sketches. This phase of the process helped me gain an understanding of the support system and overall aesthetic. Progressing to a full-size, functional prototype helped me quickly assess weak points in the design as well as I collect feedback from Bruno. 

 
 

What worked: form, seating height and angle ("very comfortable")

What needed refinement: undercarriage, joining methods, overall craftsmanship

 
 

REFINEMENT

 

THE FIRST PROTOTYPE WAS SUCCESSFUL...

in that it supported his weight and was actually quite comfortable. However, the craftsmanship left a lot of room for improvement. To create a cleaner exterior I knew I had to tidy up my undercarriage support system. Here, I'm working out how to improve exterior appearance by hiding all joining meth-ods within the undercarriage. Instead of slotting (and interrupting exterior lines) I chose to join support braces directly to the interior of the two outer supports. The seat remains relatively the same with some minor tweaks in shape and scoring methods to create a smoother curve with fewer wrinkles.

 
 
 

ANOTHER 4'X8' SHEET OF CARDBOARD, LOTS OF HOT GLUE, AND MANY, MANY HOURS LATER... BRUNO HAD HIS FINISHED PRODUCT. 

 
 
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