Shape Field Chair by Karson + Mary Shadley
Published on February 28, 2014
A lightweight outdoor folding chair equally adept on a camping trip, at the beach or in your backyard.
Nature is our sanctuary. Life is simpler when you’re spending your days in the great outdoors. You should spend that precious time comfortably and with objects you’re proud to own and use. Most outdoor folding chairs are built on the cheap and without elegance. Our most loved outdoor gear is the stuff our parents and grandparents handed down to us. We cherish the durability, functional beauty and patina of these items. Karson and Mary designed the Field Chair to meet these same criteria.
Reduced, reliable and comfortable. These are the attributes they strove for as they designed and developed the Field Chair.
Weighing in at under 4 pounds even with the #8 duck heavyweight waterproof canvas. The parts have been minimized to the essentials: the hinges are made from the same part repeated and held together with a military strength axle. The bent tubular legs are also identical.
They found the right balance of strength and flexibility in the hinges and legs. The materials and finishes have all been chosen to wear well as they are used in the great outdoors. The legs and hinges will be hard anodized to resist scratching and dings. The waxed canvas will resist rain, withstand abrasion and patina nicely over time.
The most important feature of a chair, surprisingly not always the top priority of chair manufacturers. The Field Chair flexes to a comfortable angle when sat in but still provides plenty of support, it is wide and sits low to the ground—all desirable traits for a relaxed outdoor experience.
Karson and Mary built multiple prototypes starting with cardboard fit models then quarter scale models, leading to full sized 3D printed prototypes of the hinges and finally CNC machined hinges in 6061-T6 aluminum. A local bike builder bent the tubular legs for the prototypes and working samples. They partnered with Joshu+Vela to create the pattern and sample for the cover. The current sample chair has been weight tested to 300+ pounds. The manufacturers are vetted and they are ready to move forward with production. You can help and have yours on Kickstarter!
Karson is an industrial designer with over a decade of consulting experience and is an Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts. And Mary earned a degree in print design at Western Washington University before moving to San Francisco nearly a dozen years ago.