Bending (Chair)

Using bending processes to develop a chair design.


Similar to the flat chair design process, I started with sketches of chair ideas, thinking about ergonomics, possible shapes, and ways the material could bend.

Model Making

I then moved to card models, but instead of developing a drawn idea, I continued with exploration and experimental practice. In images 9-12 I was particularly interested in thinking about how I would get a material to bend to that extent. My intention was to have the chair feel more akin to a throne than a dining or other chair. A celebration of the bent materials.
In images 13-15, I experimented with using wooden model building materials, testing the limits of the bend (with some purposeful scores and some unintentional breaks in the bend). I also layered the material to mimic how assembly would be achieved at full scale. The design is a development of my butterfly chair (page 4) with the intention that an image would be printed or etched into the material and then stretched over the bend. I also thought about what types of upholstery or alternative materials could work on the underside of the bend (indicated in white). This space could be a play area for children for example, with the chair being a perch place for adults rather than place designed for extended comfort.
Images 16-17 show another design with tipping issues (similar to images 7-11 on page 3). This design was inspired by Victorian tête-à-tête chairs – otherwise known as a courting chair (Sterjova, 2017) – and could be a comfortable seat for two people back-to-back. Having each area on this piece gives it a feeling of fluidity throughout.

Bag Press Experiment

Due to time constraints in the workshop, I did not have the opportunity to make full models using the bag press. However, I was able to manage one experiment layering flat materials, gluing each layer and then vacuum forming over a shape. For this experiment I used the leftover material from my ‘bowling pin’ exploration (page 9). The vacuum pressure while the glue was drying meant the shape was retained afterwards. Some drawbacks to using this machine include its size, making full scale pieces would need to be completed in sections. Also, the creation of a mould could potentially cause an issue depending on size and complexity or severity of the bend, such as in images 9-12. These may be better achieved by manually bending and clamping.


Sterjova, M., 2017. Tête-à-tête sofa: The Victorian era “love seat”. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 09 12 2020].