TFP 2015 - Interpretive Category
Everyone we talk to always has a chair they want to make. Sometimes it's a reproduction. Sometimes it is a sleek modern design. Sometimes people want to make any chair at all, but everyone has a chair. Well, here's your excuse to finally dust off the plans, get in the shop, and make it. This is our simplest challenge so far, just make us a seat. The only caveat is that it needs to function as a seat first. We don't want a desk that you can sit on, but we will accept a chair that you can write on. Other than that, benches, stools, and chairs all qualify. With such a basic category, let us take a minute to talk about why we chose this challenge.
First, we listened to you. We heard everyone talk about chairs and thought we would give you a chance to stretch your limits. We also love the challenges in seating. People interact with it in a more intimate way than with other furniture. Most furniture pieces see a minimal level of human interaction. We open doors and drawers, write on a desk, or put our feet on a coffee table. But we rest our entire bodies in a chair. It has to not only function, but be comfortable. A well designed chair supports a human body. Sometimes it has to fit people of different shapes and sizes. The maker has to think about whether the seat is for relaxing in or for doing business. Is the seat meant to be used for minutes or hours? How many people should it accommodate? Benches are a great option for short term, multi-use seating. Easy chairs are perfect for long term use, but not great for work or conversation.
Since we use chairs in a more complex way, we should approach them differently, too. A good chair requires some extra planning. Full-scale mock-ups are almost a necessity. Drawings and 3d models can't tell us about comfort. It is difficult to guess what seat angle or arm height is best without trying it. Many pieces of furniture can be almost entirely designed on paper, but a quality chair needs to be sat in.
Finally, seating presents an interesting interaction with consumers. A consumer will not (or should not) buy a seat they haven't sat in. A maker cannot use impressive lumber or flashy embellishments alone to sell a piece. A lot of quality furniture is hard for an average buyer to understand, but everyone understands a comfortable chair.
For inspiration, be sure to check out our pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/designbuildshow/seating/
Also, hop over to the Rules and Eligibility for more details about entering.
The Furniture Project 2014 – Design|Build|Show Challenge
This year, we want to bring The Furniture Project back down to fundamentals. Part of the beauty of custom furniture is not only that every piece and every maker are unique, but that anyone can create it if they desire. With that in mind, we decided to go with a project that can be as simple or as complicated as you prefer: a Chimney Cabinet.
Chimney cabinets (or cupboards) are basic storage pieces characterized by their proportions. They are generally quite tall and thin, with one or two doors and shelves inside. To us, they offer a great opportunity for easily customizable storage. The only requirements are that the cabinet be between 3 feet and 6 feet tall, less than 24 inches wide, and less than 18 inches deep. Also, the cabinet must have at least one door to qualify for our show. Otherwise, anything goes! It could have two or more doors, glass panels, drawers, lights, wheels… you get the idea. The additional wrinkle we have added is a short timeline. A lot of makers get caught overthinking and we really want to encourage you to get in the shop and get to work. A short timeline and a simple design make this project very attainable. We cannot wait to see what you all come up with!
For inspiration, be sure to check out our pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/designbuildshow/chimney-cabinet-tfp-2014-inspiration/
Also, hop over to the Call for Entries for details about the rules and eligibility: http://designbuildshow.com/index.php/mobile-callforentries
This year, The Furniture Project extended its reach a little to the South with a space at the New England Home Show in Foxboro. The goal of this show was slightly different from what we do in Boston. While Boston is about getting a lot of great work in front of homeowners, in Foxboro, we highlighted the process of creating a custom piece. The result was a smaller, more focused booth which received comments and praise throughout the weekend.
The booth had three parts. The two makers, Kevin Mack and Ryan Messier, each had one end of the booth. Their spaces were sited on the corners to gain them maximum traffic throughout the show. Ryan brought select pieces and kept busy carving a sign, which garnered much attention. Kevin eschewed demonstration to keep the focus on the final products. He was able to mitigate consumer/salesperson discomfort both through his demeanor and his arrangement. Kevin laid his area out like a living room, with ample seating. This is a tactic he has used for a number of years and always results in people interacting with his furniture.
This year, for the first time, The Furniture Project is holding a second show, this time outside of Boston (though only slightly) March 22-24, 2013. We will have a booth at the the Home Show at Patriot Place in Foxboro, home of the New England Patriots. The event is inside the Dana Farber Field House which is normally used as the Patriots' practice field. This weekend it has been transformed into an event hall with hundreds of vendors.
Kevin Mack Since this is a new show in a new place, we decided to take a new direction with the booth. The space will be focused on the process of making custom furniture. In particular, we will focus on a reproduction "lolling chair." The chair will be displayed at various stages of a build. First, we have a working drawing, patterns, and some books for research. Second, the rough stock is laid out showing how a maker takes time to consider the material including wood type, grain pattern, and even the growth rings. Third is the stickered wood after milling. Many people don't think of sticking as a crucial step, but it highlights a makers understanding of the medium. Fourth is a partial frame with the joinery complete. Parts are still blocky and much fitting needs to be done, but machinery has gotten it most of the way. Our fifth exhibit is a nearly completed frame. The joints have been hand fit and the shaping of parts has begun. Finally, we have a completed chair with the upholstery. All weekend we will be working through the stages, fairing patterns, planing stock, fitting joints, and shaping parts.
www.MessierWoodworking.com In addition to this exhibit, we will feature the work of Kevin Mack and Ryan Messier. Through past involvement with The Furniture Project, they have shown year after year their commitment to and ability to produce high quality furniture for clients. Throughout the weekend, they will be working on and discussing various aspects of their own work.
The hours for the show this weekend:
Friday, March 22: 2pm - 9pm
Saturday, March 23: 10am - 9pm
Sunday, March 24: 10am - 6pm
Come spend time with us and all of the exhibitors at the Home Show at Patriot Place. For more information, visit http://NewEnglandHomeShows.com.