Bent furniture collection - Unity in diversity

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Interior Architecture
This thesis is about the design of a furniture collection, meaning the prototypes of a stool, a simple chair, an armchair and a table. We call individual pieces of furniture a collection if they show some kind of unity or have the same origin. When designing a collection, the specific question is what can be the concept applied to all the furniture pieces, however, individually each piece has to fulfil the requirements of its own function. Generally expressed, what kind of unity can result in diversity? The motivation of this thesis comes from an earlier design concept of a chair which answers the question of how structure can be designed as the most organic part of a function. The relevance of this objective is its driving force toward clean solutions, facilitating harmony between function, form, material and structure. The result of the earlier project inspired more ideas and this thesis is aiming to extend the same concept to various functions, searching for new answers through the design of the BENT collection. Since the topic is pragmatic, the findings are coming from real materials, physical objects and live experiences. The birch solid wood and moulded plywood material chosen, the standard carpenter’s machinery method used, and the simple joinery of the concept provide a relatively efficient way of prototyping, in line with the idea of mass production. All the ideas were tested and judged in reality during the process, using practice-led, empirical and experimental design research methods. The paper part of the thesis is a detailed report of the process from the beginning to the realisation. It attempts to capture the decision-making moments of the design process by following the shaping interaction of the experiments carried out and the concept to be applied. The paper aims to understand more about the design and explain it again in a reorganised way by looking at the process through an aware, critical and analytic eye. Beyond the thesis's physical outcomes, the design's final concept is maybe even more important than the prototypes themselves. The latter are representative enough to show the values of the concept, and with further development, the BENT furniture collection has production potential.
Relander, Martin
Thesis advisor
Wiherheimo, Yrjö
furniture design, design collection, molded veneers, structure as function, empirical design research, wooden furniture
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