Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Chair is a Very Difficult Object

By Kyle Fountain

You might recognize the title as the beginning to the famous Mies Van Der Rohe quote:  “ …A chair is a very difficult object, a skyscraper is almost easier…”  I was recently listening to one of my favorite podcasts 99% Invisible when they were discussing the invention of the Nerf ball.  As Bruce Hannah describes during the interview, they were playing with a piece of foam, intended for a chair, cut it into a diamond shape in order to toss it back and forth in their design studio without breaking things, the rest is history.  Unfortunately, Bruce isn’t mentioned on Nerf’s Wikipedia page, or credited with the invention.  That is why everyone with a good idea should read, or listen to Stephen Key’s “One Simple Idea.”  

In the same way Mies described the complexity of a chair in his quote, one could also assume that designing one of the largest grossing toys was almost easier than applying the aforementioned piece of foam to a new chair design.  This semester I have been struggling with the design of a media storage furniture piece.  The idea came to me when my mom was begging my brother and I to remove the large stereos from our home.

Figure 1:  Ugly Stereo

Figure 3:  Elevation-Front and Side of my current design

The design is inspired by the old 1950’s and 1960’s credenza’s and stereos that were designed as a piece of furniture integral to a room.  My issue with those, however, is that they become a box to hold clutter.  My goals were to enclose the above stereo, router, Bluetooth adapter, and record player into one clean, simple furniture piece.

Figure 2:  Example of Mid Century Credenza Courtesy of – K2 Modern  <>

I have finished with the initial design, acquired the wood, and am beginning to build this week.  I am planning to have the piece built by the next blog entry.  Finished photos and process images will also follow.

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