Emeco + Stanford present "The Chair"

ME263 - The Chair

Most of the design classes at Stanford require students to undertake multiple projects during the quarter, which means that there is very limited opportunity for students to iterate repeatedly on any given design. ME263: The Chair was created to provide students with an opportunity to work intensively on a single project over the course of the quarter, and to bring their projects to a high degree of finish.

Chairs were chosen as the focus for the class because they afford a remarkably rich set of design and fabrication challenges. A successful chair design requires adroit integration of the functional (ergonomics and purpose), the technical (structure and materials) and the formal (aesthetics, and relation to surroundings). Perhaps it is for these reasons that designing a chair has been a kind of rite of passage for designers and architects for more than a century.

The design brief specifies that the chairs must

  • be collapsible/disassemblable,
  • be able to transition between states in less than one minute,
  • fit within a rectangular volume no greater than three cubic feet (5,184 cubic inches) in their collapsed/disassembled state, and
  • weigh less than 30 lbs.

The purpose of the collapsing/disassembling constraint is to encourage the students to apply their mechanical engineering skills - the class is in the ME department - and to result in chairs that are easy to transport for students who are likely to be entering a nomadic phase in their lives.

Jaye Buchbinder
John Edmark
Craig Milroy

The final chairs of the class of '24 were exhibited at Emeco House in Venice, CA, in May.