Strata Chair by Ben Preston

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DESIGN DETAILS
DESIGN NAME:
Strata

PRIMARY FUNCTION:
Chair

INSPIRATION:
The base concept of the design was one of 'complimentary juxtaposition'. The footrest portion is a subtraction from the overall form; the interruption creates function from sculpture. The seat and footrest are polished to a shine, adding a flair which contrasts the rough exterior surface. This is exceedingly apparent when the user first removes the footrest from the seat, exposing the smooth surfaces within, an act analogous to cracking open a geode: rough granite gives way to crystal.

UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Strata represents the complexity made possible by designing with both modern technology and traditional building methods. The courses of the plywood 'bricks' rotate upward, creating the spiral pattern on the exterior. The voids within this pattern create a play of shadows, while simultaneously revealing the true nature and construction of the piece as a whole. The highly polished 'interior' of the chair contrasts with the rough exterior, creating a juxtaposition of functionality and sculpture.

OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
When closed, Strata acts as a beautifully complex, eye-catching piece of sculpture. When the user removes the footrest from the seat, the interior surfaces are revealed. These surfaces, polished to a stunning shine, invite the user to touch, to feel, and to sit in the chair.

PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The initial concept was first conceived in 2012. The project was built in May 2014.

FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design

PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The piece is built entirely from high-grade 12mm birch plywood and 1/4" diameter pine dowels. The 473 individual pieces are designed using a CAD program, and manufactured with a 3-axis CNC router. The pieces are numbered and assembled by hand. The individual pieces are then laminated together, using the dowels as guides for correctly positioning the individual 'bricks'. Course-by-course, Strata is built much like a masonry building. After assembly, the interior surfaces are sanded and polished by hand.

SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Total product dimensions (assembled) are 1066W x 1066D x 914"H.

TAGS:
wood, plywood, sphere, stacked, twist, rotate, sculpture, chair, brickwork, CNC

RESEARCH ABSTRACT:
Initial research consisted of an academic exploration into stacked construction, namely brickwork. Drawing from architecture from around the world, the staggered courses were developed into the twisting structure, and finally, into the form of a sphere. Digital modeling allowed for rough estimates as to the structural integrity of the chair, and a prototype was created to test these estimates. After learning from the prototype, various adjustments were made, and the final design took shape.

CHALLENGE:
The main challenges concerning the design were of means and methods. Material use was a primary concern. The cuts made from each sheet of plywood was optimized to reduce both cost and waste. Assembly was the next challenge. Ultimately, the chair was built from the middle layer outward. First, the bottom half of the chair is constructed upside-down as a dome, then flipped over and used as a base for the top half.

ADDED DATE:
2014-11-06 20:31:23

TEAM MEMBERS (1) :


IMAGE CREDITS:
Image #1-5: Sampsel/Preston Photography, 2014

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CLIENT/STUDIO/BRAND DETAILS
NAME:
Think. Write. Build.

PROFILE:
Think.Write.Build. represents a group of designers exploring fields ranging from architectural and aesthetic discourse to objects and interactive design. The members of Think.Write.Build. are united under the overarching theme of understanding design in the context of today's production-driven commercial world.

NOMINATION DETAILS

Strata Chair by Ben Preston is a Nominee in Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Category.

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AWARD DETAILS

Strata Chair by Ben Preston is Winner in Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Category, 2014 - 2015.



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