Alibear Registered User

Well the other day we got our design briefs for our Junior Cert. Woodwork project. I'm doing higher level and we have the choice of 3 projects (ordinary level also have a choice of 3 projects).

I've chosen to do a stool, which has to be "sturdy and elegant" for use in the home. It should be designed to have a secondary function specific to the area in which it is to be used. We also have to demonstrate how we considered our carbon footprint in the design, so I have to use softwood and use a CFC-free varnish. The other 2 project choices were a lot harder!

I also have to do a folder which has to contain...
- An analysis of the selected brief
- Investigation/research
- Development of design ideas
- Sketches, notations, working drawings
- Manufacture of chosen solution
- Evaluation of design and project.

Now, I was wondering if anyone had links to good sites with photos/sketches of stools, as I have to design 8 stools which fit the required description. I was thinking of working around the basic design of this stool?

It's very simple, but I'd choose a nice fabric to cover the stool in like the photo above. It would be sturdy and reasonably elegant (???), and could be suited to the living room, where it could be used as seating, a foot rest and storage???

All opinions appreciated - Woodwork isn't exactly my best subject!

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SpitfireIV Registered User

Having recently completed my honors degree in Industrial Design I think I can offer you some info, or help

Have a look about the internet by all means at stools etc, try not to spot one you like and then copy it, be creative, you'll gain far more from it .

You mention that it has to fit a specific room or area of the house. So figure out what thats gonna be, look at what goes on in the room, what type of use the stool would be getting? if any! Would it be funtional or simply ornamental? If it were to be used, how long a day would it be used for? Is comfort over a long period an issue? Is it something that almost 'invites' people to sit in/on it, or does it do the opposite so that they wont stay on it for long?

Look at a style that you like, contemporary, modern, technic, classical etc etc. These will effective the end result of course. Materials, colors etc, type of wood also will affect the 'style', ie. simple practicle pine to give a homely, tradiational look or clean, straight cut oak or ash to give a modern feel?

The brief says it should have a secondary use, so think outside the box, perhaps its a stool for a living room that could open, or fold out so that a user can lie out on it if required? Maybe its a stool that could fold out into a small seat?! Storage for books and CD's, you and I both know that everyone is gonna go for that one! Perhaps a kitchen stool that acts as an open out steps to reach those high cupboards. I bet someone will have thought of this, lol, but maybe it could be an outdoor stool and used for storing small recyclables?

Lots of questions for you to ponder over there, have fun!

Alibear Registered User

Thanks a million for your reply

The stool would be functional - It could be used as seating, a footrest and storage for miscellaneous items. I intend to use an easy to clean (leather-like?) material and use plenty of stuffing for comfort

I would like to go for something modern, but the brief says it must be elegant? Elegant to me means old-fashioned carved legs etc. but I think something like the photo I posted could be elegant with the right material?

I must use softwood - I was thinking pine? Seeing as it'll be covered with material anyway the look of the wood shouldn't be too important??? I was thinking of having four modern looking, short blocked legs for the stool (does that make any sense at all? I'm useless at explaining things sorry! ), possibly with a slight slant around the edges?

I'd honestly prefer to do something simple but reasonably good instead of doing a more complicated design and messing up The brief says it's for use in the home - so I thought that that meant inside the home?

Will definitely think up of some more ideas though - Thanks for all the help!

SpitfireIV Registered User

Alibear said:
Thanks a million for your reply

I would like to go for something modern, but the brief says it must be elegant? Elegant to me means old-fashioned carved legs etc. but I think something like the photo I posted could be elegant with the right material?

Glad to help.

When I think of 'elegance' immediately such design movements as 'art nouveau', perhaps 'Bauhaus' come to mind, a lot of Bauhaus seating and such used stitched leather like those photo's you posted. In fact, a lot of Bauhaus designs, although from the late 20's/30's are still being made today, so although an old style, its still pretty funky ! You might be able to draw some inspiration for those.

Have a look at those movements, you wont find stools, but maybe some inspiration So not exactly carving and such (if you are using pine you wont be able to do much carving on that) but just the way you piece is finished, material choice etc with suggest the elegance.

Elegance also suggests lightness, simple, a nice flow, minimal, so perhaps Four heavy block legs wouldnt do it justice, they'd make it appear to be too heavy, as if its tied to the ground, you want it light and airy, almost as if its floating

Spork o Death Registered User

hi im also doing the stool as my project. i was just wondering what you have to do for the design brief analysis?


SpitfireIV Registered User

Spork o Death said:
hi im also doing the stool as my project. i was just wondering what you have to do for the design brief analysis?


Design brief analysis, feck I should know that but I'm not really familiar with the term. What I think it is referring to is basically analyse the brief, look at what it is asking you to do (ie design an 'elegent' stool for use in a particular room, environment etc).

So you have to examine the given brief cleary, list area's you will research and how you will do this, list ways in which you believe you can fulfill the brief.

i.e. 'In order to fulfill the environmental needs of the given brief I shall :
- Research sutible environmentaly friendly finishes.
- Research ways in which I could incorporate recycled materials into the
etc etc'

You are breaking the brief down into lots of smaller questions which you will then answer and in turn help your design evolve.

Baby Boots Registered User

i got my design brief yesterday :S iv decided to do number 3 ... 'design and make a FREE STANDING artefact to hold a small number of your favourite books. the artefact should be designed to display personal items that reflect your interest in music and also ALLOW THE TITLES OF YOUR BOKS TO BE EASILY VISABLE. the design should be ELEGANT, IN PROPORTION and be ATTRACTIVE to behold' any ideas?? i have been thinking of doin a small box shaped cabinet with shelves on 1 side and a small cupboard on the other side to keep a CD player in or something ... im not that good at woodwork so it has to be kind of simple but looks good ..... please help ....
thanks ... xxx

ocon442 Registered User

ya i did the Analysis my brother did his stool project last year so he'll be a help. basically the analysis is bullet points im doing number.3 and this is one of my points

Ø I must design & make a freestanding artefact to hold around 10 of my favourite books.

if thats any help? im just confused on the next point investigation/research

(im not that good at woodwork)

SpitfireIV Registered User

Hi guys,

I'll try be of some help to you and just throw out a few ideas that'll maybe get you thinking!

Ok, so think about when it is that you listen to music,or read a book, I'd imagine for the most part it is when you are relaxing, evening time maybe? and sitting down, maybe lying down. So, an item that stores your CD's/books that is easily accesable whilst sitting/lying would be preferable. It'd be a divil to have to get up everytime you wanted to change a CD!

Books and CD's say a LOT about people, thats a fact! And you'll find that those whom are proud of there CD/book collection and want to make a statement with them will have them out on show, now, some might have them all neatly arranged, others might have them in a bit of a heap, but even these methods of displaying them say something about the person. So definately the CD's and books should be on show, they should be seen and not hidden away. Its like the cloths we wear, the car we drive or the food we eat, our taste in media says a lot about the person, so I'd try keep this in mind when designing the piece.

With regard to 'investigation/research' what you have to do there is have a look about and see what other methods of storing/displaying books/cd's are availible on the market. Look up Argos books and other catalouge and see what is on offer, materials used, prices etc. Basically look at everything from shelves to cabinets and show your teacher/marker that you have gone out there and had a look, understood what was avilible and gained some knowledge as to what was required from your item.

Look at what woods might work best, what colors would suite the piece (if you are going for something relaxing for those whom enjoy evening time reading, perhaps some pastel tones) maybe even a light fitting or some form of illumination? Maybe a light to aid reading, or soft under lighting/LED's to lift the piece off the ground or create a relaxing atmosphere. Look at shapes, curves, styles, as its for storing cd's too(?) look up musical notes and rythem charts, see if you can get any inspiration from them

If you do all of them above I guarentee you teacher will be well impressed and you'll be well on the way to making a good project!!

As I mentioned earlier, look at ways that you listen to your music/read, when you do it and for how long, determine if there is something you would like to make this time more comfortable or enjoyable. Perhaps, as mentioned, easier access to your media.

At this point you shouldnt be thinking about what the product will look like, forget that! Really, do, you might not think it, and its a mistake that many (including myself make) but you have to do your 'investigation/research' first and do that with an open mind. From that you can start getting a better picture of what you will need, it'll give you the bones of the idea around which you can wrap a shape/style. Dont be afraid to go a little 'out there' and step off the beaten path, you'll get just as much, if not more points for something a little wacky that works, than something simple and safe that also works.

If ye need any more help just shout!!

Baby Boots Registered User

hi ... thats really helpful thanks ..... how would i go about putting ligting in my project?
we have to have the project ready by the end of April so its not really giving us that much time .... 8 school weeks :S
Good Luck to every1 else doin their projects
thankz again

SpitfireIV Registered User

Well thats something you'll have to find out for yourself during the 'investigation/research' phase, thats what its all about, getting out there and finding the answers to these questions!

To be honest though, I'm not sure, I'd imagine battery powered LED's would be the way to go rather than a cabled light powered off the mains as that limits where the unit can be placed. Have a look in Halfords or similar car stores, they have LED strip lights, miniture LED spot lights and such, or visit a local electrical supplier and see what advice they can offer. The more investigation you do, the more info you will have to fill up your folder!!

ocon442 Registered User

am ya id say the more research the better the actual make itself cause just been asked der if you had ur wood in front of u cud u actually make ur design so lik...its really hard .

light tingy sounds fairly cool ammm....r teacher has been saying like there'll be 100dreds will be doing the normal square shape so im just gona try mix it up u know in that sense but u dont want to be going mental like cause u'll just find it to hard were only young lik wit no experience so im just trying to keep it simple but cool u no!!!

Lefty800 Registered User

i am also the doing the bookshelf

im stuck with ideas for a spider diagram any ideas ?

SpitfireIV Registered User

Lefty800 said:
i am also the doing the bookshelf

im stuck with ideas for a spider diagram any ideas ?

Get yourself a page, the bigger the better (I know you might want an A4 size one to fit in your brief, but thats too small. Get a marker and lay the sheet out on the ground/table.

In the centre write down what it is you want to make ie 'an elegant bookshelf to display books' now, draw lines coming off that and write down words associated with that object, ie 'books' 'storage' 'elegant' off 'books' draw some more lines and put down words associated with books, ie 'hardback' 'softback' 'novels' etc etc. Off 'storage' draw another line and put down words like 'shelves', 'racks' 'cubbyholes' etc etc.

I hope that makes sense, I did up a quick example, see below. Basically you are just writing down lots of words associated with the project, then writing down words again associated with the words you have just wrote down, hence the reason why you need lots of space!

beech09 Registered User

im doin the bookshelf aswell. i cant think of any designs and i dont want to do the common designs everyone else is doin. instead of just displayin cds i want something unquie that will stand out from the crowd but nothins coming to mr. please help!!!!!!!

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