About this project
The Ollie Chair unfurls with a flourish and retracts instantly with the pull of a string. Handsome and customizable, it’s a versatile primary or secondary seat for homes and businesses, inside and outdoors.
The chair's slatted wood seat, called a tambour, allows it to fluidly transform between ergonomic and flat profiles; its aluminum body provides a robust, retractable structure with a sleek look.
Out on the balcony, down at the corner coffeeshop, around the co-working table, in a cozy kitchenette, court side, poolside, or stored side-by-side on the wall, the Ollie Chair adds functional flair to any space.
Traditionally used in roll-top desks, a tambour is a flexible surface made of wood slats adhered to a textile canvas. Using a tambour as a seating surface is an innovation that gives the Ollie Chair its unique movement and shape-shifting abilities.
Folding chairs are often relegated to musty closets and temporary functions. But here at RPR, we think versatility is queen...and that just because a chair can be stored, doesn’t mean it should be hidden or take second seat.
Ollie consists of an articulated aluminum body attached to a flexible slatted wood surface (yep, the tambour). The chair’s patented transformability relies on origami techniques developed for folding thick materials. By adding offsets and incorporating hinge constraints to aluminum sheet metal, we engineered a structure that deploys to standard seating dimensions and flattens down to under 2.25” deep. That’s thinner than the bagel you had for breakfast.
Yes, you've finally found your space savior. Ollie can also hang flat on the wall as an elegant storage alternative.
And of course this low profile isn’t just good for maximizing floor space: a thin chair flat packs for more cost-effective transport, which is also environmentally responsible.
Fear of commitment? We get it. Ollie’s tambour seat attaches to the chair base with three slotted hooks at the top and two ring clips on the back. We did this so you can easily change tambours to suit your aesthetic or for maintenance. No tools required. Use a felt tambour for a more formal occasion, swap in the teak for a bbq, or switch in a custom graphic to make a statement when the chairs are stored on the wall.
We are presently offering custom versions for Kickstarter but in the future aim to offer different materials and finishes that can be sold separately. For large orders, we hope to do custom branded graphics (though we’ll show you how to do it if you want to try yourself).
A portable chair shouldn't be housebound. That's why we committed to rust and warp resistant materials like powder coated/anodized aluminum sheet, stainless steel fasteners, and solid oiled teak from the start. We salt tested, immersion tested, froze and thawed to make sure your Ollie Chair could brave the elements.
For RPR, form IS function. Ollie's lumbar-supporting contours have been evaluated by people of all sizes, seated for long and short periods. It’s comfy AF.
Even though the chair’s BIFMA certification is not as sexy as its other features, the Ollie Chair meets furniture industry safety and durability standards. We can show you our report card.
Coming in around 16 lbs (7.25 kg), the Ollie Chair strikes a balance between portability and substance.
Picking up the chair by its ergonomically placed handholds is a cinch for any able-bodied person, making opening and carrying the chair easy. We are even working on some shoulder strap accessories for going longer distances.
We like to think of our products more as experiences than objects. Opening and closing the Ollie Chair feels like performing a magic trick... #chairshavefeelingstoo
The tambour seating surface of your Ollie Chair is your canvas. Stay sleek and minimal with the default teak or add some extra flair with one of the other custom tambour options available through Kickstarter only.
Note: Each chair automatically comes with a default teak tambour installed and included in the tier unit cost. Any additional tambours will ship separately so you can easily swap out the teak.
The tambour details are as follows:
- The Teak Tambour. This is the default tambour that comes included with every chair and can be used indoors and outdoors. The natural color of solid teak with a marine grade oil finish adds warmth to any space. The teak will age gracefully, becoming only more inviting over time.
- The Felt Tambour: This indoor-only tambour is elegant and refined. The high quality, sustainable felt adhered to the underlying teak naturally repels soiling and moisture. This extra touch of softness makes the sitting experience even more comfy. Perfect for those extra long holiday dinners or for bedtime snack sessions. Currently offered in natural gray. We plan to expand color options when we reach our $250k stretch goal.
The Distressed Paint Tambour: This tambour is nostalgic of a weathered dock patched with seasonal layers of paint. Hand finished in our Brooklyn studio with all natural milkpaint, each surface provides an intentional yet easy-going accent to its surroundings. Try storing the Ollie Chairs against the wall as wainscoting for instant room revival. Originally available in a sea green/blue hue, additional color options are now available after achieving our $200k stretch goal (!).
This tambour can be used both outdoors and indoors.
The Vandal Gummy Bear Tambour: We share the canvas of New York with some of the most vibrant artists in the world. This Limited Edition tambour is a collaboration with WhIsBe, one of our favorite street artists known worldwide for his bold imagery and subversive pop culture messaging. Provocative and fun, the Vandal Gummy Bear aligns perfectly with our own refined yet renegade design principles. The artwork is silk screened onto hand-finished maple wood slats. Hang these functional art pieces on the wall Warhol-style when not in use...and relish in the secret optical illusion that occurs when the chairs are deployed!
Signed by WhIsBe & Jessica Banks. For indoor use only. See Pledge Tiers for availability of this tambour option.
The Ollie Chair’s aluminum body is offered in 3 matte colors: silver, black, and white. We are currently evaluating whether anodizing will be more durable than powder coating so that we can deliver the highest quality and longevity, but these choices won't affect the color. When the campaign ends, we will send you a survey so you can pick which color(s) you prefer. Feel free to mix and match with any of the tambour seating surface options.
We will offer one additional color for the chair base when we hit our $400k stretch goal -- let's go for it!
All chairs come with maintenance manual, warrantee, and directions, but we are always available should you have any questions.
The Ollie Chair was actually a byproduct of our retractable Ollie Table coming out later this year (see images in the About RPR section). Upon admiring our table prototype nearly two years ago, our friend Charlie innocently asked, "What happens to the chairs when the table goes up on the wall?"
To which we replied, "#%(*@! We'll be right back..."
And thus began a process that would take: 1500+ emails, around 350 refinements on 6 working prototypes (not to mention the non-working ones), 60+ tools, 29 safety and durability tests, 7 different manufacturers, 2 offices, and 1 office mascot (RIP Ralph).
We are now ready to tool up for high volume manufacturing, which requires steep upfront tooling costs.
So, "Hello, Kickstarter." And, "Charlie, we’re baaaack!”
RockPaperRobot is an engineering and design firm that is rousing the sleepy and technology-resistant furniture industry.
Our transformable furnishings address the demands that current physical, cultural, and technological shifts are imposing on commercial and residential spaces. As designers and technologists, the team integrates aesthetics and robotics into decor to enhance versatility and functionality without subscribing to the sterile appearance of sci-fi lore: think Charles Eames’s and Judy Jetson’s wedding registry.
Aligning time-honored craftsmanship with progressive engineering, RPR invents the furniture of the future.
Please follow us on social media for real-time updates on the team and Ollie Chair production.
Thank you also to all our friends, families, and fans who advised us and encouraged us to tell our story, in our voice, with our hands.
Shipping charges within the United States are $28 or less per chair. Shipping charges outside the United States depend on your location. We have preloaded shipping rates for all countries, but feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think there is a mistake or want to discuss further.
Importantly, THIS PROJECT IS EU-FRIENDLY. We will be shipping a pallet (or many pallets) to the EU and performing final distribution to backers from within the EU. We’re still learning the finer points of VAT and customs laws, but you should not experience any additional charges. The EXCEPTION to this rule is that custom tambours are all made by hand in our Brooklyn, NY studio. Any custom tambours will ship from the USA directly to backers and may incur VAT or customs charges.
Many backers have been asking questions, and we love to hear what’s important to you. Two questions in particular stand out as critical considerations to address … and so we did.
How much weight can the Ollie Chair support?
As described in the FAQ, the Ollie Chair is BIFMA tested and certified to 300 lbs (136 kgs). However, we still received a good number of additional questions regarding the maximum weight that Ollie can support. So to answer that question, we went to the gym and found a really buff guy who could lift some really heavy weights and asked him to sit in the chair. The result? We put 372 lbs (169 kgs) onto the Ollie Chair and it held up fine! Note that we still are only certified up to 300 lbs (136 kgs) and don’t recommend more weight than that amount, but it’s always helpful to know your limits.
Will the feet of the Ollie Chair scratch my wood floors?
Many backers have also inquired about the protective measures taken to preserve wood flooring. The bottom edges of the Ollie Chair have protective ABS plastic feet installed to buffer the aluminum metal of the chair base from your flooring. As a result, we have not had any scuff marks in our own homes during day-to-day use. We also took video of some in-home experiments for you to see.
Risks and challenges
The world makes making stuff look easy. But manufacturing a highly engineered kinetic object at scale is complex and requires a trusted team, vetted vendors, and a fastidious grasp of the product (if one aspires to quality and safety, at least).
Although we have fabricated and shipped furniture pieces before, this is our foray into manufacturing at a much bigger scale. That’s why we have put in close to 1.5 years of R&D -- prototyping, market testing, sourcing, sampling, (and sitting) to get to where we are now with a pretty high degree of confidence (not to mention a bunch of advanced degrees in robotics (MIT), business (Harvard), and fabrication/design (RISD)). We are currently halfway into our tooling and have produced multiple rounds of product prototypes with an awesome manufacturing and assembly partner (that’s why we can show you Ollie photos and videos on this site).
Having said that, we have already experienced some of the tribulations that can occur with manufacturing projects, from delays due to unforeseen design changes to temporary factory shut downs prompted by pollution advisories to tooling breakage. We have done our best to account for such time protractions with conservative estimates, but we would be remiss to guarantee an exact delivery date. And we promise to share updates about any issues as freely as we share selfies from Shanghai (we’ll be going to visit our manufacturing facilities there during our first production run to do quality inspections ourselves).
Thank you in advance for any required patience. And feel free to write our customer support hotbox (email@example.com) with any concerns or questions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (30 days)