J Gabe Rustia
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Arch, 2019.

 

Brief: Is a stool a different way of sitting? Each student was tasked to design and develop a full size, working prototype.

Spring 2019, 14 week project.

 
 
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Ability to nest together.

Ability to nest together.

18” version

18” version

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BRIDGING THE GAP.

I became inspired by the notion of movement and traveling. I looked at the connections in urban infrastructures and architecture. How they can unite one place to another.

There was a gravitating beauty in archways and this drove my design process into what a stool could be.

 
 
The Gateway Arch, 1965 by Eero Saarinen. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

The Gateway Arch, 1965 by Eero Saarinen. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Tunnels allow for light to gradient on the surface — this inspired the seat.

Tunnels allow for light to gradient on the surface — this inspired the seat.

 

PROTOTYPE EXPLORATION.

Aside from exploring ideas on paper, this project allowed me to explore using real materials. Working from small to full scale, provided the opportunity to refine the concept to reality.

 
 
Initial 1:4 scale model.

Initial 1:4 scale model.

Heat bent PVC pipes, with 1:1 scale drawing as an underlay.

Heat bent PVC pipes, with 1:1 scale drawing as an underlay.

1:1 scale model with better proportions.

1:1 scale model with better proportions.

 

REFINED THROUGH TESTING.

The form developed through experiments with ‘bucks’. By bending wood and creating a structure that can be sat on, I was able to finely tune the actual shape that balanced comfort, aesthetics, and function.

This also allowed for people to experience the design concept in real life.

Having a variety of people from different sizes helped strike a balanced design.

Built and iterated upon seating bucks.

Built and iterated upon seating bucks.

Yee-haw! The form allows for users to sit like they’re in a saddle.

Yee-haw! The form allows for users to sit like they’re in a saddle.

 
A view of saddle seating style.

A view of saddle seating style.

A view of perch seating style.

A view of perch seating style.

 
Manual rolling steel sheets.

Manual rolling steel sheets.

Practiced with 16 gauge sheet metal, ultimately decided to go with 12 gauge for extra structure.

Practiced with 16 gauge sheet metal, ultimately decided to go with 12 gauge for extra structure.

Metal parts, pre-welding.

Metal parts, pre-welding.

 
Final in-person specification check up. Used cardboard and wooden dowels to adjust proportions in person. Widened the seat portion to accommodate for more people.

Final in-person specification check up. Used cardboard and wooden dowels to adjust proportions in person. Widened the seat portion to accommodate for more people.

 

WOOD FORMING.

This process was extremely fun and learned a ton. It was necessary as I wanted to upholster the seat with fabric + padding. Each attempt took about 24 hours to cure. After each attempt, I found what I needed to do to make it better and implemented it into the process.

 
The first try on this one, I bathed the wood but it snapped in half after curing. Then I decided to make it without water and it held without any springback.

The first try on this one, I bathed the wood but it snapped in half after curing. Then I decided to make it without water and it held without any springback.

Originally bent the wood and clamped at the ends. I learned that this only had a 50% success rate.

Originally bent the wood and clamped at the ends. I learned that this only had a 50% success rate.

Revision two, I began clamping from the center and went outwards. This way, it ensured flushed forming of the wood to the steel all the way through.

Revision two, I began clamping from the center and went outwards. This way, it ensured flushed forming of the wood to the steel all the way through.

 
I masked the frame to prevent any wood glue from sticking on metal.

I masked the frame to prevent any wood glue from sticking on metal.

Final bent wood pieces, sanded the edges and added a radius to the corners. This is the foundation for the upholstery stack up.

Final bent wood pieces, sanded the edges and added a radius to the corners. This is the foundation for the upholstery stack up.

 
The steel parts in raw form. I had to patch the weld marks on the tubes of the tall designs with Hi-Temp JB Weld. It sanded easily and came out smooth.

The steel parts in raw form. I had to patch the weld marks on the tubes of the tall designs with Hi-Temp JB Weld. It sanded easily and came out smooth.

Hanging out — preparing the stools for a powder coat finish.

Hanging out — preparing the stools for a powder coat finish.

Eric from Express Coating spraying down the first coat of matte black.

Eric from Express Coating spraying down the first coat of matte black.

 
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FINAL PROTOTYPES.

Ultimately finished the project with four different units and two size variants. I originally intended on making them all have the same finishes, but opted to diversify and contrast finishes for the final. By doing this, I learned a lot more about the complexities in fabrics, paint colors / finishes, and how thickness can alter the edge details of a product.

Satin black metal frame, with black leather upholstery.

Satin black metal frame, with black leather upholstery.

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Showcased at Grad Show — family, friends and guests got to check out the stools.

Showcased at Grad Show — family, friends and guests got to check out the stools.

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THANK YOU.