Charlotte’s idea for a stackable chair has been taking shape for some time. In fact, it started as a development task for a workshop stool when she joined Dovetailors as a furniture making student to help her improve her CAD/CAM skills and understand how the technology supports the design process.
Since then, Charlotte’s concept has evolved, as has her role with us. Now Charlotte is principal designer and a key part of our team in the workshop. We love her creativity and attention to detail.
All our furniture makers have time in their week to explore their creative side, away from the constraints of commercial projects and workshop schedules. Charlotte began researching styles for inspiration and experimenting with the stool design.
“I drew lots of sketches and made several card models which we discussed in the workshop as a group,” Charlotte recalls.
“Working collaboratively with the rest of the team taught me such a lot about the design process and really helped me bring my ideas to life.”
Charlotte started thinking about how she could evolve her design, taking inspiration from some of her favourite designers and experimenting with different techniques. Her first prototype was a three-legged stool and by the third prototype she had decided it worked better as a chair.
A chair is not an easy thing to design. Consideration needs to be given to its weight and strength – not to mention the comfort of the person who will be sitting on it (incidentally, we have been road-testing her design at home and can confirm it is super comfy!).
“When we added the 5-axis CNC to the workshop, it allowed us to develop the whole chair manufacturing process,” says Charlotte.
“The arms were jointed with the back rest, the seat was split into two halves and the back leg was sandwiched between. The whole process was really fun, with trial and errors.”
Whilst Charlotte was tweaking her design and refining the legs, seat and weight to make it stack smoothly, an enquiry came in from our friends at Wakefield Cathedral for some stackable chairs. Suddenly the project took on new impetus as Charlotte adapted her design to create some ceremonial chairs for them.
David has enjoyed mentoring Charlotte through the modelling stage, using his engineering expertise to bring her ideas to life on the CAD/CAM. From there she has learnt a great deal about getting the most from our 5-axis CNC machine, understanding its capabilities and taking a project from design stage through prototyping and ultimately to making and finishing.
As well as designing the chairs for Wakefield Cathedral, Charlotte has also developed a style for the home which looks great with Ric Frampton’s dining tables.
Emmanuelle has one of Charlotte’s oak chairs in her home office for when she is working from home and has fallen in love with it. As well as being comfortable to sit on, it is a beautiful piece of furniture with its curved lines and minimalist styling. The fact that it is stackable is another bonus for anyone who needs extra seating from time to time.
Looking back on the project, Charlotte says: “I’m incredibly proud of how I persisted with the design process and how those initial ideas have been transformed into something which is so attractive and nice to use.”
Charlotte’s chairs are now available to buy and we have already had some to very happy customers. To enquire call 0113 256 7376 or email firstname.lastname@example.org