No Seat Belt Required is a unique piece inspired my childhood. A tribute to a life shaped by the automotive industry. This handmade piece of furniture is a mix of harmonious curves and sharp angles much like the body of a modern automobile. This seat is an exercise in transforming a technical material into something functional and artistic.
From the beginning I knew I wouldn’t be using any 3D design software when building this piece, instead relying on my own intuition and the trial & error method. Due to the personal nature of the piece, I wanted to really feel and understand the product I was building to share my story.
At this stage of the process I only had the seat part of the design visualised, with no idea of how to support it and make it a functional piece of furniture. Nevertheless I began researching the design of the seat and built a number of cardboard prototypes to test out the shape and depth of the final product. While building these prototypes the idea for the frame emerged as a reflection of a real car: a curved body sitting on an angular frame.
Once I had decided on this overall design I could experiment with the materials I would use to build the final piece. I started by going to the garage to find old and broken car hoods that I could use to understand how the material works and reacts under pressure. I removed the supports that keep the car panelling and hoods rigid, then cut, bent and stretched it to the desired form. I repeated this process with a second hood, less broken, to complete the seat part of the piece. The benefit of using the soft aluminium metal of a car hood here is the ease with which it can be shaped, but I realised quite quickly that it would not be able to support the weight of a body in its current form. I inserted metal bars to the seat to support the metal and rigidify it once more.
The frame was much more straightforward in the end with each bar cut and then weldedtogether to fit the seat itself. The two are linked together by only six screws and as a result the seat had to be positioned very carefully before I poured the polyurethane foam. When this had dried I could begin shaping the seat and a lot of sanding to get the required finish to the piece. Finally I was able to apply a primer to the frame with a coat of black paint, before the final layers of chrome paint and varnish went on to protect the surface of the piece. From start to finish; conception, building, and shooting, all take place in one place - my family's workshop.
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