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College of Design

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Furniture Autopsy

Hello again,

Fall is officially here. The temperature is dropping every day. Please stay healthy, eat food, get sleep, and spare time to hang out with friends. Your health is the most important factor in the success of your academic life.

One of classes I have this semester is DES 3321 Furniture Design. It is a class in the Design minor. Last week, I got a chance to go on a field trip to visit Grahn's Upholstery. The mission was to perform an autopsy on a sofa. This sofa was donated to us from a friend of our professor. The donor told us that it is very sentimental to their family and they are glad we can use it for educational purpose. Little did they know that we will be doing more than just looking at it. We cut, chopped, tore, broke, and even kicked parts of the sofa to learn about what is inside a sofa we usually see. The process was so much fun. I learned how to break things, which I am very good at it. Then, I got to see how the sofa was put together, and the materials they used inside for cushion and support. Dr. Alan Grahn, the owner of the shop, was very nice and helpful.

sofa autopsy.jpg
(left) Sofa before the autopsy, (right) students are cutting up the sofa into pieces

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(left) sofa skeleton, (right) the "autopsists"

This process was very personal to me as an architecture student because architects design chairs. Chairs and architects is like architecture students and coffee...if you know what I mean. Chair is a building art that requires knowledge of construction, aesthetic, ergonomic, and material. We can learn a lot about how one reacts to certain move we make to a chair, or how construction method and materials affect the user. They said the process of designing chair is very similar to building. The difference is the scale of final products. So, don't be surprised if you learn about famous buildings in your history class and come across famous chairs by the same architect.

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(left) chair by Frank Gehry, (milddle) chair by Charles and Ray Eames, (right) chair by Mies van der Rohe*

Regardless of who design your chair, please take the time to appreciate that chair you are sitting on while reading this blog. I am sure a lot of thought was put into designing it.

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

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