Mural Chair Plans and Alternatives

For my final project I have pretty much settled on the form of the chair. As the featured image shows, I will be going with a Robert Van Embricqs style folding chair. I think its a very unique and interesting design as a chair, but what really does it for me it the fact that it folds flat with very few extra pieces of hardware. This results in a chair with a lot of design flexibility, and a smooth surface for me to work with. I’m not sure if I will go for the same exact design, but it will definitely resemble it due to the qualities it possesses.

My next steps will be to sketch and narrow down an exact design. From here I will probably make a 3D model to visualize the movement, and finalize the dimensions. I’ll then source the wood, cut it to length, drill the base holes, and sand them smooth. From here I’ll need to get a metal rod to fit the base holes, and drill the flexible connections (probably leather) into the wood segment pairings. From here I’ll obviously test the chair and make improvements if needed. After that I’ll get started on implementing the mural.

For the mural (which is painted on the chair when flat), I originally liked the early American tattoo aesthetic. As part of the activity for this blog post, I sketched 4 different ideas for alternative murals. (From left to right, top to bottom) the first is an abstract geometric design, then a beach scene, then particles of varying density, then tiki faces. The abstract design may play to a certain design movement, but the one featured is mosaic shapes. The beach one is kind of a minimalist representation of a scene you might see in a more realist style. The particles would be an interesting way of representing something. From up close, It would just look like dots, but from a far, it might make up an image, scene, pattern, etc. I think that there is real potential to utilize this general idea, and it made me think of using a soldering iron to burn the wood (an idea I hadn’t considered prior to this). The final Idea is tiki faces. I like this one because its simple but also fun, and it goes with the form in the sense that it is boxy and modular. I think this modular idea could pair well with some of the other Ideas I have had.

Overall the sketches taught me some valuable things. It made me aware of general styles and themes that could pair well with the form, it gave me the idea of using wood burning or carving, and it let me consider different types of artistic themes that I wouldn’t have thought previously. I’m not sure if I will stray from the early American tattoo aesthetic, but this process has opened my eyes to other possibilities (pop art could look cool), and I wont get started on that until the chair is actually fabricated, so I have time.


Featured image:

Robert van Embricqs on Behance

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Erik Skooglund
    March 21, 2021 10:18 pm

    Hey Joshua, I really love this idea! I think this is a very beautiful and clean take on a folding chair design. I also really like the idea of having a mural / design burned into the wood, that can be viewed when flat. If you decide to go the burning route for the mural, you could maybe consider using the laser cutting machines to burn your design onto the final product while laying flat. This might be a hassle with all of the covid restrictions, but it could save a lot of time and give you a super clean result if it works out.

    • The size of the chair does concern me a little, I’m worried that in order to make it fit in the laser cutter, that it would end up being too small to sit in, but I still need to do some research to finalize the design to see what size makes sense. If I were to use the laser cutter, I think I would use it mostly for templating. Whether it be paint, or wood engraving, I would probably use the laser cutter mostly to indicate where the design would be so that I could do more work on top of it.

  • Brayden Shelley
    March 21, 2021 2:36 am

    Woah, this is really cool. How are the middle pieces attached, and what keep the whole thing from falling apart when you sit on it? Incorporating a mural on the folded chair is honestly such a great idea, I love it. This looks potentially quite uncomfortable to sit in, but the whole idea of what the chair is/does is so cool.

    • So the pieces are connected together with what looks to be either leather of fabric strips (or some sort of flexible but strong material like rubber) that are screwed into the back. I will probably use leather although I need to do some research to see if I can source something that would work better. The bottom parts (the ends that touch the floor) are attached with a rod that goes through. I don’t know how it would feel but the cavity formed is somewhat round (not square) so I would imagine it would be terrible (but a cushion or blanket might help with this).


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