The beauty of 1:5

Having previously extolled the virtues of 1 : 1 templating. What about model making?

Scale models and mock ups can be invaluable as a way of readily getting a sense of 'form' for various projects and communicating what the thing or idea is really going to look like. As previously mentioned too, even the most basic of model or mock up can give much more 'real-sense' information than the most elaborate of 3d animated renders.

Why is this?

A model occupies a real space presence. It can viewed all around, as can a 3d render, the difference is that it has a tangible and tactile placement.  You can touch it. 

That's not to say that 3d animated renders are not as good - just different. Think of the virtues of a walk through animation through a new architectural space.

The very act of creating a model for elements of sculptural furniture even in its most basic form allows a more direct cognitive exploration of actual structure - How will I be able to make this element at full size?

Models can also then of course be photographed to emulate the full size work. 

 1:5 model mock up of sculptural table form

1:5 model mock up of sculptural table form

1 : 5 is a good size.  Big enough to be able to convey a sense of stylistic form.  Small enough to to be able to readily create (unless that is you are creating models of sky scrappers and cities perhaps!)

Layers upon Layers of templates!

These are template sections from 2 quite un-related projects.  


Makes quite an interesting image - especially with feet in view! 

So, here I am really just making a flat image for a 'cut-out' of the top template - a curved perspex screen for a desk, that features a vinyl graphic overlay. Below is actually another project altogether laid out on the floor. A 2.3m diameter concentric ring formation tree seat. The silver disc in the centre is the inner compass point and of course also represents the tree. More soon...

The power of 1:1

In the design and creation of new projects an important aspect is to be able to visualise the intended outcome. Sometimes drawings / renders with photo overlay at locations can be enough in order to set about the process of making. Scale model and quick mock up maquette making is another very useful tool to be able to really get a true insight into the spatial presence and possible scenarios that may be encountered during creation.  You may think it is perhaps enough to just produce 3d 'walk round' drawings or CAD renders of a new project, however even the most basic of scale models can more often that not describe far more real sense information that the most elaborate of 3d animated sketch ups.

For some projects though especially those with more complex interactions 1 : 1 templating and mock up is an extremely useful and practical way to really get a grasp on how the thing is going to exist, a true sense of scale that answers one of the basic questions - will it fit. Will everything that I want to put in it fit  - and perhaps even more importantly - how will I be able to move around the new piece or project, especially if the new work is positioned in a more restrictive space.  In more complex furniture based related projects, 1:1 can allow an accurate feasibility study of the functionality issues that must be resolved.  An example below shows a 1:1 outlines mock up template with simplified sketch overlay of a shop space central sales area counter console that requires a lot of access storage from the vendors side, whilst still fitting into the intended dimensions of the shop floor. It allows testing of ease of access of draws, shelves and also testing aspects of integration of the high stool seating for the client side that is part of the overall look of the design. This is one of our current projects and will be posting more on this as it takes shape. The template here is the wireframe on which the styling hangs.



In the project below - the Findon bench, 1:1 was used to full effect in situ to test for the outline placement of the intended bench form. In this case we even mocked up the seated effect so that view aspects across the garden could be evaluated.


Sometimes of course it just comes down to the practicality of marking up lines to complex wall curvatures such as in this sculptural bed with integral side tables that fits up into a non uniform concave divisional wall. We like a challenge of course! 


And here's a picture of the Tricorne table in situ. In the background is a Nimm type chair too. This small table features a sculpted vane edge leg arrangement in ash with elm top. (see earlier posting with the template form.)

Tomorrow - we are installing a first for chaircreative.  A sculptural ash scattering area  for a new burial ground.  And yes, mock up templates were even created of these sculptural oak posts and set up in situ in order to get a feel for the intended layout of the space. More on this and images to follow soon. 


Wax Works

The melting pot. 

A visit to Milwyn foundry to check on the progress of the making of Kre

The Moulds have been created from the component parts and the first positive waxes produced. Kre is being produced with the 'lost wax' process of casting.  There is of course still a long way to go until the final piece comes together! At this stage though we are interested in generating good moulds. Good moulds make good waxes and good waxes produce clean definition castings. In the gallery below you can see the positive waxes with the hollow void cavities. You may notice that the back section has been broken down into smaller component parts to facilitate ease of sectional casting in the slender backrests. The next stage will be the ceramic dip to make the moulds for the bronze casting. Essentially this is about making a hard fired ceramic shell around the wax positives with pouring cups. The ceramic shells are painstakingly created in layers of multiple coated dipping - each carefully dried before applying the following coating. Reinforcing structure is also added to the larger component sections to keep them stable during casting. The ceramic coated moulds are then kiln fired to remove all of the wax inside and make the hard shell mould ready for pouring.

The bronze pour for Kre is due in around 3 weeks time - more pics to follow then on that part of the process of making. 


And here's the ceramic dip process taking place of some old skeletons in the closet. It's certainly messy work!


The inside line - from idea to reality

Here's a view of the inner detail of a new sculptural 3 vane leg element.


This particular structure forms the basis of a coffee table commission. The original design shown below with glass top. The actual finished work by request will feature a single piece board top in elm wood. More pics to follow soon of the completed work in situ.

Above is one of several designs that where proposed in order to fulfil the desired brief of a small table to fit a pre-destined space. In the drawing above you can also see over-line sketch work on the actual 1:1 template showing the physical spatial presence on the workshop/studio floor. This template form was also taken to the client's location. Templating and model making are of course very useful tools in order to effectively visualise objects in the 'real' world to give a true indication of how traffic flow and integration works around the intended new piece. This small table outline template is  fairly straight forward to create, the styling though on the finished work is not, although the look of the final piece is that of a smooth fluid simplistic fin blade form, it comprises of many layers of sculpted compound relief cuts in order to achieve the desired effect.   I will be posting more on templating in due course in regard to some of the latest projects currently underway, which have much more challenging functionality to be included within the design brief.  In the meantime - below is the sketch drawing with solid wood top 

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Here are a couple of images of the template casting patterns of one of the latest chair designs Kre

Seen here in the 'white' - this is assembled template form for the bronze casting. 

This chair will be produced initially as a polished bronze piece. 

This template form is now at the foundry where moulds have been created of all of the individual sections. Wax positives well then be produced in order to create the casting moulds for the liquid bronze.

Will post more information and images on next visit to the foundry. 

The template form is a meticulously hand carved wooden ergonomic sculptural form. It has then been spray painted in order to create a easier release process from the latex mould making of the components.  This is of course quite a large chair, however it will not be an entirely soild object as semi hollow voids will be created in the larger sections at the foundry into the positive waxes in order to reduce physical mass.

More information coming soon as this project develops. 


Wood Awards 2013

Nimm Rae II chair shortlisted for the Wood Awards bespoke furniture category 2013. 

Of course this is not the first time chaircreative works have been shortlisted for the Wood Awards. 

WINNER 2008 - Sleeping Dragon Bench

SHORTLISTED 2007 - Lightbox Gallery Seating

You can experience Nimm Rae II at the Wood Awards showcase event at 100%design 18th - 21st September, Earls Court, London. 

See the exceptional shortlisted entrants in these features Wallpaper Magazine and Deco


Inspirational activity

It's the shape of the journey. The weight of the line, depth of the curve. 

Elsewhere - A world in miniature takes shape .

1:10 model spatial scaling of one of out latest interiors projects - more to follow...


When in chairs...

Nimm type.

Latest delivery

stary stary night!

In some ways, everything is about light. The absence or presence thereof, how it moves, how it shifts and where it falls.


Full studio set of images of Razorfish III and Nimm Rae II to follow soon.

going in boxes

New works now complete and ready to be shipped to latest exhibition 'Furniture with Soul' at the Gallery Naga, Boston, U.S.

Razorfish III

Nimm Rae II

Amidst the creation process of the latest run of chairs - the curse of 'any available flat surface'. In this instance - workshop course attendee Chris's bench in development gets commandeered as a handy table! You can follow more about his bench in later posts. He is currently working on a luxurious 2 seater garden bench to an original 'chaircreative' design. In the meantime a few more pics below of chairs and edges. There are of course several chairs below in the process of creation all at once. You can clearly see the component blank forms of the steam bent arm rests and back rests ready to be fitted.


i drop! 3.2m installed

Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxembourg the destination for the latest sculptural installation. The privately commissioned bleached oak 3.2 m i drop! sculptural form for a residential setting in the heart of the city.  This piece is positioned close to the rear of the house with good views from 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors - set on a flush mounted setting disc. See earlier related postings for more about the creation of this work.

The installation of the 3.2m form presented new challenges, estimated weight for the sculptural element itself is around 250 kg - a considerable mass in verticality with no easy way to hold while setting on the stainless steel pin. 

A couple of clever rope tricks provided by James and assistance (read distraction!) provided by Zucchini the dog.

Layers upon layers

Generally when one thinks of layering, perhaps the assumption is to imagine a cumulative increase covering in substance or weight such as clothing, blankets or snow.  Not so in case of shape form carving though, where the effect of the addition of  layering of cuts, results in the physical and optical mass decreasing whilst the intended shape form in itself arises and reveals itself.

When one begins to think of a complex compound curvature shape or a series of interlocking shape forms in a physical structure and then the desire to manifest that in the material world - how does it happen?

Principally by being able to break down the intended shape into its inverse form of stock material removal with the addition of subtractive layer carving. The difficult part of course is not the cutting itself, but knowing where to mark the lines to begin!

So, here is the start of the dished hollow carving on Razorfish III. A new piece that when complete will be shown at the end of May at the Naga gallery, Boston, U.S - Exhibition: Furniture with Soul.

The dished seating hollowing on the Razorfish bench design is a complex series of interlocking hollows that are cut for ergonomic comfort performance, visually intriguing and tactile sensory delight. The whole piece plays with our perception of shifting optical defiance, appearing almost ethereally light whilst at the same time maintaing total structural solidity and physical mass. It is perhaps one of the joys of this design is that it subtly distorts our notion of what should and shouldn't work in so many ways yet still appears visually balanced ( more on this subject in due course. )  At this stage there is still a long way to go before it approaches the final form. In the following series of images though you can perhaps already begin to see the form arising.


Working on the new i drop! sculptural piece.

The 3.2 m form is resting here purely on the point of balance. Carved in weather durable oak wood for the exterior setting, seen here prior to final surface finishing and bleaching.

This is the 850 mm Ø flush mount setting disc sat on top of the key foundation block that goes below ground level. See earlier postings for more on this. The solid 32 mm Ø bar setting keeps the i drop! form in place once set outside, forever on the illusion of resting at the point of eternal balance. 

Installation in Esch - Sur - Alzette, Luxembourg 1st week April 2013. More images to follow.

Tree Music

School time again. But, isn't it half term time holidays? Yes, for the pupils, however, not for us. Today we were back at Woodlands Meed school making the final installation of 'Tree Music'. A series of wall mounted sculptural elements originating from a Walnut tree from the site of the new school building.

You can perhaps see the difference from the earlier postings now that the elements have been final finished and oil burnished.  


Now, lets wait and see what the pupils think.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in 'chaircreative world' shape working continues on the 3.2 m i drop! sculptural piece. More on this in next few weeks.

Back to school

So here we are at Woodlands Meed school test fitting for 2 of the sculptural elements from the installation 'Tree Music'

Mid space position testing of 'The listening'.

The elements that grow from the floor are scribe marked for cutting in on the skirting rail whilst the grow from the ceiling pieces are checked for settings. At this stage you can perhaps see that not all the elements have received the final finish and oil burnish treatment that really brings the walnut to life. You can also see the mixture of textural finishes on the surfaces that add an extra tactile dimension to the work. Deep and fine cut crossed ripple surfaces as well as super fine smooth sheen surfaces combine within the fluid organic nature of the forms to elevate the senses.

Tree Music and concrete aerial blockheads

Shape form work well underway now for one of our latest sculptural commissions - a series of wall mounted pieces for a new school building in town.

'Tree Music' consists of a grouping of 8 elements that line the main light well corridor passage way through the centre of the school. The elements are all carved in walnut from a tree that was originally growing on the new school site.

Below is an image of the lower portion of one of the paired element installations near completion.

Next week will be test fitting and scribe marking out for some of the larger elements, so more pics to follow soon. In the mean time below is an image of a 'concrete aerial blockhead'.  Let you keep guessing about that for now, however if you have read earlier posts you may well have an idea what that is all about!

More soon!