Char Kennedy’s Frame Chair with a personalized furniture system

Published on November 4, 2015

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The Frame Chair is a personalized furniture system designed by Char Kennedy in Emily Carr University as a graduation project in 2014 to engage users in the process of making, wear and repair. Users are able to source their own materials and construct a uniquely functional seating surface that reflects their individual creativity and lifestyle. Its form consists of a simple frame and slotting mechanism, designed so the chair can be assembled with as few tools as possible, making it accessible to a large demographic of people. The chair is designed to tell a story through the individual use of materials and the marks associated with wear. Over time, these stories are what bring personal value to the object.

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This project was conceived as a response to the amount of furniture that is being thrown out in an urban context. One of the core challenges of designing within this problem space was determining the value of these furniture objects and how peoples experiences inform this relationship. The objective was to design a furniture system that retained both its structural and emotive value over time. The concept — a lounge chair that is reliant on habitual use, creative engagement and a system for repair in order to emphasize the objects ability to age in a dignified way.

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The Frame Chair was designed to create a shift away from the rapid rate of consumption and achieves this by encouraging peoples participation in the process of making and using the chair. It therefore becomes valuable not only for its physical form, but for the stories and individuality that is represents. The value of this design is that it enables people to physically transform the object to fit their changing needs whether it be comfort, style or overall space. The form and user interaction have been designed to facilitate and encourage a creative engagement in the initial making phase of the chair, but also allows for the parts to be repaired and replaced as they wear out. With all of the components being RTA, the system encourages repair over disposal.

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The Frame Chair is assembled by cutting the chosen material to the appropriate dimensions, wrapping each end around a wooden baton and then slotting those into the frame of the chair itself. Once the material is slotted into the frame of the chair, the cross braces are used to give tension to the fabric and give structure to the frame. The cross braces are then secured with RTA bolts that are tightened using an allen key. The goal was to create an experience which was accessible, satisfying and personalized, so that people could regain ownership over the creation of meaningful objects in their life.

Char Kennedy

The video shows the process of assembling the chair and the personalities that have interpreted its form in a variety of ways.

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