Industrial Design Students Recreate Chair Project from 1976
Professor Randy Bartlett found inspiration for his summer studio class and Café Chair Workshop of Third and Fourth year design students in a very unlikely place. It was a photo in a magazine from 1976 of prototype chairs, designed by industrial design studio students and displayed at Foy Union.
“When I came to Auburn in 1977 I received a copy of the magazine and saw this piece on chair designs,” Bartlett tells us. “When we were thinking of ideas for summer classes, I decided to remake the project.” Helping bring this idea back to life was Dr. Gearóid Ó Conchubhair, from Dublin, Ireland. “Of any designer I know, he has the best eye for form and proportion,” says Bartlett. “He specializes in furniture, specifically chairs, and has even designed a new orchestra chair, the earo, that is being produced in Slovenia.” One earo currently resides in Dean Vini Nathan’s office in the CADC.
A group of nine students made up the class and workshop that brought their own seating designs to life. Basing their work on research already done by Ó Conchubhair, the students focused their designs around the “sit tall” concept. The chairs are made to have you sit a little higher than normal, thereby improving your posture. In one short month, the class perfected their designs and created working prototypes of their ideas.
On June 16, the class took their finished creations and made the trek to Foy Hall. They set up the chairs to recreate the original scene. It was a beautiful mixing of the old and the new. These students have challenged the traditional norms of sitting and have shown their abilities to create aesthetic, user-oriented solutions to everyday problems.
Above: A printout of the original photo the class tried to recreate.
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Randall Bartlett, Vini Nathan