Comfortable Treasures

For my 3-Dimensional Design Final, we were assigned to make a piece of art that could support a seated person that did not look like a traditional chair out of anything we wanted that also did something else besides just providing a seat. We also had to design it to fit a specific need, problem, or situation.

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The Problem

With Winter Break coming up, I was excited to return home and spend time with my family. My classes would be completed, my Finals would be over, and I would finally have some time to relax. I was especially eager to have time to sit in front of my television and play the sequel to my favorite video game that just came out. Everything was so exciting and I was so eager to return home when I remembered one problem: my room doesn’t have a chair.

Because I live on campus, I currently have two homes, one here in San Marcos, and one with my family in my hometown of San Antonio. Because I spend the majority of my time here at Texas State, I want my dorm room to feel as homey as possible, so I brought most of my furniture and belongings with me and because it is troublesome bringing the heavy objects up and down three stories, I don’t tend to bring my things back home with me during home visits. This includes my favorite gaming chair.

Because my gaming chair was extremely heavy and bulky as it’s made of solid wood, I needed a new chair to bring home with me, a lighter chair. But not only did this chair have to be light, it had to be comfortable, as well. If this chair was going to temporarily replace my gaming chair, it had to be comfortable enough to allow me to spend hours within the same spot. This would require some intense back support, especially for the lumbar in order for me to remain seated and stay relaxed. Now, the chair isn’t the only thing that allows me to become comfortable. I have a favorite blanket, as well, that I like to curl up with during the cold, winter nights, but I don’t have a place to put this blanket. Being able to somehow store my blanket on or within this new chair would be especially convenient.

There was another thing to keep in mind, though. I’m a pretty short person and sometimes my brother, my dad, or my boyfriend like to spend time with me in my room, as well. All taller than me, they would require a higher back support than I would. Being able to quickly and easily adjust the back of the chair would allow it to become the perfect chair for anyone, not just me.

I can be picky though, and I not only want my new chair to be comfortable, light, adjustable, and able to store things, I also want it to match my room’s color theme of natural tones. Unless its adorned with browns, greens, tans, beiges, whites, or light blues, it would become an eye sore within my room, and instead I wanted it to become an interesting and aesthetically-pleasing focal point.

If I was going to create the perfect chair to replace my beloved gaming chair for the holiday season, I wanted it to be the ultimate chair and fit a wide variety of needs and desires.

The Solution

As I began to create my chair, I started with the most essential need in mind: comfort. I knew that my chair must be comfortable above all so that I would be able to play video games for extended periods of time. Because of this need, I began to think of soft and squishy materials. I decided on styrofoam, but upon checking the store, found that styrofoam was not only expensive, but also was not large enough to create a chair from. After browsing about the store further, I found a similar material: foam core. After purchasing four large 4”x22”x22” pieces of foam core, I returned to my dorm room to begin constructing my chair.

Being built out of foam core, my chair was definitely going to be comfortable, but now I needed to figure a way to store my favorite blanket within it. Instantly, I thought to hollow the inside of the chair, but after sitting on the foam core, even without the inside wasn’t hollowed out, I found the chair to be extremely unstable and unable to support my weight. I would need another substance to help give the chair shape and stability. With an abundance of cardboard at hand, I tried this new substance only to find it unable to support weight, as well. Begrudgingly, I rethought my design and turned to wood, a much stronger, but much more difficult substance to work with.

Unmotivated I did not want to go to the Woodshop to begin working on the interior of my chair but was ultimately convinced to go. I arrived at the Woodshop and was extremely grateful I had come upon finding the sign announcing the unexpected closure of the shop later. I wouldn’t have been able to complete my chair if I hadn’t gone at that moment. After hours of sanding, sawing, nailing, and drilling, I had constructed a wooden chest, complete with a fully removable lid that would be perfect for containing my blanket and other small objects. Now, it was time to hollow out the foam core and place the chest inside.

After returning home, I contemplated ways of cutting through the foam and ultimately decided upon using an Exacto-knife. Surprisingly, it was extremely difficult to cut through the foam and even more difficult to carve out a hollow space rather than cutting holes. After hours of cutting with my tiny knife, I had a reasonable space for the chest to rest. I was elated to find that with the addition of the wood, the chair was now perfectly able to support my weight and no longer lost its shape.

Excited about my new storage device, I realized I was really sitting upon a stool, not a chair. In order for my creation to become a chair, it needed a back, and an adjustable one at that. With A large piece of foam core that had been hollowed out sitting by my feet, I realized it was the only piece left I had to work with and would have to do. I then turned my eyes from the floor to the ceiling and found a spare shower rod resting on a shelf. Suddenly, the backrest for my chair became a concept. After another quick trip to the store, I bought two new shower rods and picked up some natural-toned fabrics to cover my chair with. After making more slits within the foam, I was able to slide the shower rods in and place the extra foam at the edge of the seat. Making the perfect backrest, my chair was complete, yet naked.

With sharpie marks and stray hair and dust collecting about the foam, I definitely needed to cover my chair. Resorting to hot glue due to an inexperience of sewing, I spent hours molding the fabric about each of the complicated shapes, including the chest within. Suddenly, I remembered the lumbar support I sought and grabbed some spare fabric and some bits of hollowed out foam to create a make-shift throw pillow that fit perfectly within the shower rods making up the back support.

Finally my ultimate gaming chair was complete, and it looked stunning!