Client: Storch Theatre Project: Furniture design and fabrication for main lobby. School: Syracuse University, School of Visual and Performing Arts Spring Semester 2010 Class: DES 300/500 Furniture Design and Fabrication Instructor: Zeke LeonardDesign Team: Wy Armas firstname.lastname@example.org Sabrina Hardof email@example.com Partrick McGovern firstname.lastname@example.org Damian Rakowsky email@example.com www.drakdesign.com
PROJECT BRIEF The Syracuse University Drama Department agreed to fund the design and fabrication of new fur- niture to be used in the Storch Theatre’s lobby by Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) students taking DES300/500 Spring semester 2011. A kick-off meeting was held in the lobby with Drama department representatives and the class. The overall request was for furniture that could occupy the lobby space seamlessly with the other areas of the complex, including the Syracuse Stage. Additionally, the fur- niture would need to provide a rest spot for Drama students between classes and breaks. Finally, it would need to work well during events, fundraisers and show nights. The design should be inviting but not so comfortable that it would encourage students to sleep on the furniture. The furniture would be constantly moved around; portability, modularity and durability were a necessity. Additionally, Drama Department representatives included terms like vibrant, fun and young to de- scribe the atmosphere they wanted. The Storch Theatre is a unique place, described to us as an ex- periment, a lab that shows raw, new talent and new shows performed for the first time. They wanted the furniture to be able to represent this somehow and provide a great place to take a break and have a coffee.Class meeting with Drama Department staff.Neighboring lobby, Syracuse Stage space. Storch Theatre lobby, proposed area for furniture to live.
OUR THOUGHTS + INSPIRATION Being a theater, we drew much of our inspiration from the existing theme and live entertainment in general. Some points that we discussed were amphitheaters, modularity, Broadway (NYC), theater drama masks, balconies, sound, music notes, velvet curtains, the Lincoln Center, Sydney Opera, coli- seum pillars, and Japanese theater. A local furniture design style, Stickley, also was considered since some pieces already existed in the space and to highlight Syracuse’s local influence. We also considered how to integrate the uniqueness and new talent to the theater. We also discussed ways that could brand the space and furniture to bring some of the theater’s influence out to the lobby. Finally, we discussed incorporating the wish list given to us by the department. The following is a list of thoughts that drove the concept ideas: - Possible logo incorporated in the furniture in a variety of ways - A place for playbills of the current show to be displayed - Ease of stacking and wheels for movement - Furniture that could be rearranged as users see fit - Durable finishes and easy to clean materials due to high traffic - Using airport furniture as a model, designed to be comfortable enough for short stays - The stage, props and “Spike” tape, possibly reusing scenery from past shows - Location and potential ability for the furniture to be able to migrate around the lobby - Egress and traffic flow in the lobby - Syracuse University theme, “Go Orange!”Potential areas for furniture to be placed. - Modern and contemporary furniture designs of current and past designers We had a two week period to work on our ideas and concepts and met again in the lobby to present and get feed back. Dark finish to mimic the stage floor. Left Chase lounge designed by Rosa Topputo, architect and designer , partner of the D’Arc. Furniture design by Daniel Milchtein Peltsverger. studio. (Rome, Italy) Chair can be used together Modularity and ability to rearrange the furniture or break apart and used as several small seats. in the space. Also inviting but over comfortable.
PIN UPS + CLIENT REVIEWThe following are sketches presented at first client review held at Storch Theatre two weeks afterkick off. Our approach was to design for the stars and let the client real us back in if need be. Wegave them a wide variety of ideas all within our target thought process.
THE NEXT STEP Our sketches and thought process were received well. The department gave us good feedback to consider. There wasn’t any one direction that stood out to them, however they liked pieces of many different concepts. They really liked the idea of the branding and possibly adding a logo somehow to the furniture. They also liked having a playbill inserted into the furniture. Modularity and portability definitely needed to be included. Finally they wanted us to consider the Syracuse Stage in our design and branding as we further developed our designs. At this point it was up to us take all this information and sit down to develop one cohesive idea in order to proceed. We took all the ideas we felt were important. The following is a list of ideas we used: - Large and small pieces that could be moved around and arranged - A way to stack the pieces and using wheels to make it easier to move around - Long rectangular and short curved shapes - The pieces can be arranged to form the shape of the logo used for both Drama & Syracuse Stage - Firm and durable upholstered cushion - “Spike” tape to mark out squares on the cushions, “this is where you sit” - Black finishes to mimic the stage - Cut out openings in the furniture to hold a playbill In preparation of our second presentation we built both a paper and digital 3D model of the furniture pieces. We built a full size prototype out of scrap to see how the piece felt in size and shape. We ren- dered the furniture in the floor plan to play with setting furniture in scale to fit it in the lobby. We experi- mented with wood finishes including solid paint and stains. We researched materials we would use for the upholstered cushion including high-density foam and post-consumer denim. Finally we investigat- ed vinyl samples for the cushions. Logo being used to represent both Syracuse Stage and SU Drama. Right- Typical playbillSketches of developing furniture design from Drama Department comments. size 5.5” x 9” using the joint logo.
SECOND PRESENTATION The design direction we presented included the points previously listed. Our design includes several small pieces that are curved or rectangular that can be assembled to form a variety of patterns and formations based on the need at the time. We decided on upholstered cushion using black satin vinyl and post consumer denim as batting. This would make the cushions firm yet comfortable, just enough so that patrons would not use the cushions for sleep. We also incorporated using “Spike” tape as part of the design to mimic the look of the stage floor. Finally, we cut windows into the furniture that can hold playbills and be changed out for each new show. This creates an ever-changing branding op- portunity that can be shared by both SU Drama and Syracuse Stage. Our cohesive direction was received well and we got the go ahead to proceed with fabrication draw- ings and production.3D renderings of rectangular furniture piece. Patrick and Damian building prototype out of re- claimed scenery plywood. Paper models of curved furniture pieces. Right - ZekePotential patterns that can be created using the furniture pieces. with SU Drama representatives reviewing prototype.
PRODUCTION Prior to production, we spent some time fine tuning our construction drawings and designs with final adjustments and tracked down all the supplies we would need. We found a local source to order our post consumer denim. It worked very well as batting for our upholstered cushions. We ordered all the wood from local sources as well. We used red oak for the legs and birch plywood for the majority of the structure. A unique custom design was created to hold the playbill in the cutout windows using plastic. We designed and fabricated the custom folder to be mounted from the inside of the furniture to hold the playbills in place. Finally, we used actual “Spike” tape on top of the cushions. Each piece of tape was hand sewn into place.Damian cutting plastic down to size to prepare it for laser cutting.Plastic folders being cut out by laser.Right- Once the template shape was cut out by the laser, it was folded by hand into final form using ahot element to heat the joints. A total of 44 folders were made.
CNC machine cutting out furniture structure from birch plywood. Stack of ready cut birch plywood waiting for assembly.We had to hand route some of the pieces using a jig Sabrina and Patrick cutting away on the assembly line.
Majority of the finish work took place prior to assembly. To make our lives easier, we also attached the custom plastic folders prior to assembly.We gave the furniture several coats of satin black enamel. The rectangular pieces have four windows on each long side. Short curved pieces have one each.
Oak legs were finished with Tung Oil prior to glue up. Wy and Sabrina on sewing duty. Each piece of “Spike” tape was hand sown.End pieces in the glue up process. Damian cutting down post consumer denim getting it ready for upholstering.
FINISHED FURNITURECompleted furniture at Storch Theatre lobby arranged in an “s” shape to mimic the logo.
Top Three Images - A few pieces havewheels that can either lock up andhide away or down . This make iseasy to stack and roll away furniture ifneeded.Bottom Left - “Spike” tape up close.Actual tape was used for authenticity.Right - The single curved pieces canbe stacked three high and arrangedso that the playbills can be visible andused for marketing shows.
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