April 25, 2012

Folding Chair by Leo Salom

Says Leo Salom,
"The folding chair is a long standing question between efficiency of space and portability, and the technological making that links the two. True of any design question, a solution can be reached by either of the three arms, material, use and making.
A solution in this case, came by way of testing the potential of the CNC router, which can cut highly precise lines through material sheets, such as plywood or plastic, as would a surgeon with a scalpel through tissue. Two more conditions were placed to guide the design, the chair had to fold back into the single layer of plywood from which it was made and second, we had maximize the yield of each sheet, in order to be efficient and reduce waste.
First obstacle to overcome in the design, was the geometric relationship between the folding pieces, because each piece needed to fold back into their original location on the sheet. After the first two full size prototypes, it quickly became apparent that fractions of an inch when unfolded had a multiplier affect that rippled through the entire layout of the parts and how the parts fit together was imperative to achieve a competent chair.
Second persistent question throughout, was understanding the creative potential of the CNC router, poiesis, or making in greek according to Socrates. As I neared the tenth prototype it became apparent that I was making the chair by drawing a line on my computer screen that was analogous to the tool path the computer used to cut the parts. It became the unfolding of a line for the making of a chair.
The chair is composed of three wood parts made from rapidly renewable bamboo plywood, a front leg that incorporates the back rest, the back leg unfolds from the one and the seat. There are three hinges that connect and allow the wooden parts to articulate about and the eight rare earth magnets that hold the parts in place in the closed position. The seat and the back rest are fitted with a quarter inch thick wool felt pads."