Manual designs objects that celebrate slowness.
We strive to create products that encourage you to slow down and appreciate the moment. For our latest design we wanted to focus on the stool—our favorite form of seating. What's slower than sitting?
We ❤️ stools.
We love stools because they're both structured and architectural—yet at the same time informal and flexible. Whether it's reading a paper and sipping coffee at your breakfast counter, pulling up a stool at your local watering hole, or having a conversation over a glass of wine—the stool is always a welcome perch.
We designed Stool Nº1 to be a warm & modern barstool with an understated presence.
Stool Nº1 offers uncluttered aesthetics and a visual lightness to your home. A descendant of the iconic "hairpin" design, the gracefully contoured steel frame plays with lines and curves to imply corners and edges. Its strength and quality USA-made construction will ensure years of everyday use.
Made in Chicago, IL and Appleton, WI.
Stool Nº1 was designed on the North side of Chicago. The steel wire frame for Stool Nº1 is CNC-bent and hand welded on the West side. The durable powder coat finish is applied on the South side. The CNC-cut and hand-finished hardwood seat is made in Appleton, Wisconsin. Stool Nº1 is the proud product of Midwest manufacturing.
How It's Made
Stool Nº1 started as an exploration in bent wire stool construction—in these early sketches designer Craighton Berman was playing with different tubing forms for the frame, as well as various seating materials—including a leather sling. The bottom ‘hairpin leg” concept was a breakthrough, as it allowed for a thinner gauge wire to be used. This meant the design could be visually light while still maintaining strength.
Stool Nº1 is a descendant of the classic hairpin leg design from the mid-century, but it’s also very modern: it’s digitally formed by a CNC wire bending machine—essentially a robot that makes accurate wire bends rapidly and affordably. Here you can see Wieslaw—the programmer—running the CNC machine, as it creates a leg for Stool Nº1 in about 16 seconds flat.
While Stool Nº1 appears to have a continuous wire frame, it's actually constructed from 4 identical legs butt welded together. This creates manufacturing efficiency for the CNC wire bending process by only having to create a two types of parts—a few simple pieces come together to express the final design.
Welding is where the automated manufacturing moves back to manual. The legs of Stool Nº1 are butt welded and adjusted by hand to reach the final form. Afterwards they have the final details added—the foot rest, the 4 metal tabs that attach the seat, and the optional floor protector feet.
The frames are then sent out to for powder coating—a finishing process where a powder is electrostatically charged and then sprayed on the frame. The stool frame is grounded, so the powder is attracted to the metal and evenly sticks to the surface. The frame then enters a curing oven where it chemically bonds with the metal. At the same time the hardwood seat is being CNC routed and hand finished, ready for final assembly in our studio.
Stool Nº1 Options
Stool Nº1 is a customizable design! To choose any of the following options, simply add the appropriate amount to your pledge. After the campaign we will use a survey to collect your shipping information and confirm your design options—you’ll be able to easily apply any extra funds or select additional options you'd like to add.
Notes on Shipping
We will only be shipping within the United States for this campaign—international shipping options will come after Kickstarter fulfillment later this year.
We will be offering free local Chicago pick-up at our North side storefront studio. Please pledge for the "local pickup" reward to avoid paying shipping fees.
Shipping fees are based off 1-2 stools in a box. For larger quantities, additional funds may be required. Please send a message if you would like an accurate quote before pledging.
"Take it slow" 🐌
Manual designs objects that celebrate slowness. Our products aim to encourage you to step away from the distractions of modern life to slow down and appreciate the moment. We value craft over convenience, we elevate rituals over routines, and we strive for simplicity over novelty.
Stool Nº1 was designed by Manual founder and creative director, Craighton Berman, a designer with work in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The design of Stool Nº1 was inspired by the feeling of a continuous line drawn through space—first with a pen in a sketchbook, and now with steel wire and a CNC bender.
The images you see here are all pre-production samples from production facilities. Manufacturing is scheduled to begin as soon as we are funded—below is a high-level schedule for the project:
- August — Kickstarter campaign
- September — wire and wood manufacturing begins
- October — powder coating, wood finishing, assembly
- November — local pick up and shipping starts
- To all the Kickstarter backers who keep helping us bring ideas to life—we are humbled by your continued support
- To Potluck Creative for helping us shape our stories
- To Sarah Outland for opening her loft one last time for us to shoot
- To Jeremiah Chiu for digging into his deep cuts for the music
- To you for reading this far in the age of shorter and shorter attention spans. Take it slow. 🐌
- Oh, and thanks to Bacon for being so pro 👆
Risks and challenges
Previously, we have successfully run 9 Kickstarter projects, and advised on well over 50, so we know our way around making great things and getting them to people.
However the reality is that when you're manufacturing any physical good there are sure to be unforeseen challenges. We promise to be open and honest in our communications in timing and design changes as we navigate our way.
Remember, Kickstarter is not a store—you are pledging support to an independent design company that is starting down the path of producing a product. Part of your "reward" is getting an inside view at the process as well as our sincere appreciation for the support!
We only produce products we feel deeply passionate about and are too stubborn to see things fail. You can put your trust in Manual that we will deliver the goods. ✌Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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