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Project details

Date: 02/2020-ongoing
Client: -
Context: Personal Initiative

Services: Ideation, Concept development, Engineering, realisation

Project introduction

This project started as a personal challenge in early 2020 to design and build a unique chair that combined craftsmanship, pure materials and state of the art computing technologies. I will take you through the process, the vision and dream behind the chair, production and most importantly the design itself.

The aim of this project was to learn more about chair production methods and how modern prototyping methods can be applied to traditional fabrication techniques. I have been dreaming of exploring the use of metal casting methods to produce the structural components of a chair since I first made a cast from scrap aluminum in 2018 as shown below. After this first casting project I was amazed by the beautiful rough structure of the top surface of casted aluminum parts and ingots. It felt like this structure, which usually is undesired or cut away after casting, could be used as a design feature rather than an unwanted result of casted metals. The exploration into how this feature could be applied in a chair resulted in the Morse chair. It became a chair that combines the subtileness and accuracy of computer designed components with the pure details of cured metal surfaces.

Fig. 1: The process of my first Aluminum casting experiments in 2018. The process of my first Aluminum casting experiments in 2018.
The untreated aluminium surface of an ingot (i.e. a small block of metal which is not yet processed.)

The goal: 

︎︎︎Create a chair that combines computer accuracy with the pure and rough texture of unprocessed casted metal components.

The design

Bound by the restrictions that I put up for the design of this chair, I came up with a structural frame that exists of two large casted components that are being held together by a set of seating elements. The large metal sides result in a design that, seen from the side, clearly shows the texture of the casted metal. Whilst the seating element of the chair uses smooth transitions and ensures a comfortable seating experience. Additionally, thanks to the solid metal frame, it is possible to create legs that are elegant, yet extremely strong and durable. This chair design can be used as a statement piece, table chair at home or in reception areas and bars. It will give the environment that it is in a feeling of being in a modern interior with a rustic calm feeling. 

The process 

I went through a thorough prototyping process before I was able to make a one-to-five scale prototype that perfectly captured the design essence and feeling I was aiming for. Only after having made all these prototypes, computer models, strength simulations and test moulds I felt confident about the results that are shared in this presentation. For the production of the latest series of scaled prototypes I developed a production method that makes it possible to cast the chairs frame elements from a single piece of metal (tested in scaled prototypes as can be seen in the previous pictures).  

I made a one-to-one prototype of my first design cycle. This was done because I wanted to validate the chairs construction, structural strength and ergonomics. For the production of this one-to-one prototype I used a AL6010 alloy that was CNC milled and subsequently anodized in a matte black colour. The seating and backrest were made from 35mm thick European oak wood that has been shaped and formed into the correct size by myself.

Stijn Jagers 2021.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands