Fabseat explores digital fabrication via the computer chair. Its basis was
not just to provide a solution for the user, but instead to offer an assisted
pathway for making a custom chair, creating a stronger emotional bond
with the object, and challenging our current consumer culture.

Fabseat is the tangible outcome of a study into hobby-level digital fabrication.
This production method is becoming more accessible to the public, although
its real purpose or potential is still yet to be clearly determined. The Fabseat
project aimed to identify how digital fabrication could be applied more widely,
and then used to produce a desirable tangible object that visually explains
its fabrication method and provides an alternative to store-bought products.

The project first identified some key aspects of digital fabrication and then
applied these to a context where considerable benefit could be felt by
many – the computer chair. Early in the design phase, ideas of making were
brought it to strengthen the relationship between builder and object, by allowing
the user to actively be a part of the design, material sourcing, fabrication,
and final assembly of the chair. This allows the builder to learn through
experience and to enjoy the pride of making and using the final piece.

The design process required a balance between fabrication methods, materiality,
digital workflows, and customisable design. The slatted arrangement of
polypropylene was developed as it allowed a malleable seating surface and
could be easily sourced and fabricated. The slat arrangement differentiates and
allows varying amounts of support and flexibility according to the corresponding
body area.

In order to simplify the chair from complex adjustment mechanics and
achieve a tailored aspect, the chair is simulated in a digital workflow and
can be portioned according to the user’s specific dimensions. The simulation
system then automatically produces the fabrication files, which can be
exported out.

The project raises questions about how our current consumer culture
has distorted the perception of value and attempts to reconnect people
with its manufacturing background and purpose. It asks, where has
sentimental value gone?

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