The Derby Stool is a design playing with tension and structure. Besides offering a neat, reliable seat, the goal of this design is also to provide an interesting experience of assembling your own furniture like a simple puzzle, and another benefit of this design is that it can be flat packed, which is great for transporting and storage.
The process of building up the stool is very easy, that the graphical shape of each part indicates how they should come together and there is no any glue or knots technique involved. The design shows the wisdom of manipulating materials around us.
It’s the my intention to design furniture pieces with unique interactive quality such as access of assembling, and I believe that the intriguing experience adds big value to an object, because the physical experience enhances our understanding of the material world, differ from interacting with an interface, the behavior motivated by playing with a furniture piece gets people much more involved, which I think could bring great benefit eventually.
The design started from form and structure study, one of the models I made led me to an avenue to think about how to fabricate a furniture piece with the tension and flexibility of the material nature.
Many iterations were made in order to figure out the most reliable structure especially when the object goes to a larger scale such as a coffee table. The most slight squeeze of wood and stretch of rope were taken into account to ensure the stability, and it was hard to maintain and even celebrate the dynamic of objects and keep it on an acceptable level as a fully functional furniture.
Finally, the plan with a core part came up, and the design ended up with tightening the rope multiple times during assembling, ensuring enough tension to hold all parts together, and the core which went into the piece at the last step locked down all other components. This unique design achieved my original goal and made the structure very reliable.
In terms of the scale, I came back to a stool design instead of a table, through the structure worked perfectly with the table, because I thought a stoolhas more connection to human body, andcould potentially be more interactive in our daily life.
The stool was designed to be very easy to produce with solid wood planes. I chose hard maple due to its nice quality and visually lightness, it was proven to be a right choice that the graphical appearance was very neat, and the joints came out to be accurate and strong because of the dense grains.
The stool was placed into a public environment and open to all sort of users for two weeks. Its special design drawn a lot of attention. People sat on it and sometimes played with the structure taking it apart and putting them back over and over. It stood firmly in the test like a glued up seat but brought way much more fun than the latter, which made me very proud.
This is a playful piece that got these judges talking about the fetish of being tied up, which was a refreshing break in our discussions! On a less frivolous note, we liked the interactivity of the piece and how you control the tension.