Brasilia (Chair) by Rodrigo Scheel
2018 - 2019, Golden A' Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Award Winner
When we think about the shape of a chair, it is normal to visualize complex ergonomic and geometric shapes that usually depend on sophisticated industrial process to be produced. However, we remember little or nothing about the initial state of the raw material, the wood solid pieces that originated the object. The Brasilia chair tries to remember the material condition, the visual weight of the raw lumber, and the primary characteristics of the wood blocks that will disappear in the productive process, transformed into sophisticated objects.
At first sight, the Brasilia chair is only the diagram of a simple chair and the way anyone would represent one without giving much attention to the details. Feet, seat and backrest compose a set of pieces organized within a rigorous orthogonal system. Not satisfied with this diagrammatic condition, the wood is carved until presenting the attribute that is required from a chair besides beauty: comfort. Hence, transiting between the abstraction and the ergonomics, the gentle curves of the Brasilia chair reflect the purpose of the object in a geometric composition of straight angles and seemingly simple shapes.
Design Challenges
After a short documentation preparation phase, we faced a long journey looking for machining services, which last a few years with some interruptions. The difficulties were due to the fact that we had a hard time looking for a company willing to work throughout the challenges of the design and the lack of local machining companies specialized in woodwork. Since the beginning, we ruled out the investment in expensive machines during the prototype phase, which was the right call, given that today we are able to define the proper equipment to invest on. The registry process at the National Institute of Intellectual Property of Brazil also took another year to be approved. Despite the delays and budgetary restrictions, we took the opportunity to learn with experienced woodworkers the best solutions for the chair. With the projects 3D detailing, it is possible to test the different possibilities of assembling and constructive solutions before starting to prototype the piece.
Production Technology
Brasilia is a solid wood chair manufactured using a CNC Router technology. The prototype presented in the photos was made by tropical uncut lumber of 500 x 500 x 50 mm. The product aimed for sale will be composed of solid wood planks glued with laths of different width and fiber orientation with a better adaptation to the geometry, reducing machining time and material waste. Regarding the structural behavior, the thickening of the wood in the joint of the chair (5 cm width) helps to dissipate the structural straining, especially of the backrest and the back feet.
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