After spending a bit of time developing my chair designs I decided I still want to take inspiration from the island but make it more subtle; and because I quite like the idea of an armchair, I tried to merge elements of the ‘boat chair’ into the style of some of my earlier models and came up with this:
Quite happy with this and feeling confident I could build it in the workshop I went down to speak to Malcolm. I explained how the design came about – to me, it shares aspects of the islands character. I wanted it to appear strong and sturdy, rugged and robust, yet warm and inviting. The support beams take inspiration from the skeletons of derelict boats that are as much part of the landscape as anything else.
Malcolm actually seems quite happy with the models I’ve made and said he’d back me whichever way I go as long as I can convince him it is the right chair for my project – which got us talking about my ideas. I explained the concept of people sitting in the chair and listening to sounds from the island but Malcolm couldn’t help but feel that my confidence in my idea just wasn’t there. Maybe that’s because I’m still not completely satisfied with the concept. Chris and Graham’s feedback from Monday has me racking my brain for ideas on how to make the project richer.
At that point Malcolm mentioned that my new design made him thinking of a storytellers chair – which is an idea that has come up in the past. In fact, that’s what ultimately led to the idea of playing sounds – to give the user a sense of the place, the story behind the chair. Maybe I should go back to the idea of literally telling a story – this time not in a book, but through audio. It fits in nicely with the oral traditions of the island and its peoples tendencies to tell stories. Surely then it adds a bit of depth to the project, having real people telling real stories about life on the island for the user to listen to and enjoy.
Either way, I didn’t get that green light to build the chair I was looking for. Instead, Malcolm challenged my ideas which, as frustrating as it is, is probably for the best. What’s the point in building a chair for a half baked idea? Much better to develop my idea into a solid concept which can then feed into my design. That is what my mach 2 should be about – prototyping the user experience and the technology required to make it happen. I have to just have faith that the chair will come and it will be better for it. At the end of the day, I’m less likely to be judged on the chair, so long as the overall project is well executed.