About this project
OUR STORY – Nature is our sanctuary. Life is simpler when you’re spending your days in the great outdoors. You should spend that precious time comfortably and with objects you’re proud to own and use. Most outdoor folding chairs are built on the cheap and without elegance. Our most loved outdoor gear is the stuff our parents and grandparents handed down to us. We cherish the durability, functional beauty and patina of these items. We designed the Field Chair to meet these same criteria.
THE DESIGN – Reduced, reliable and comfortable. These are the attributes we strove for as we designed and developed the Field Chair.
It is reduced—weighing in at under 4 pounds even with the #8 duck heavyweight waterproof canvas. The parts have been minimized to the essentials: the hinges are made from the same part repeated and held together with a military strength axle. The bent tubular legs are also identical.
It is reliable—we found the right balance of strength and flexibility in the hinges and legs. The materials and finishes have all been chosen to wear well as they are used in the great outdoors. The legs and hinges will be hard anodized to resist scratching and dings. The waxed canvas will resist rain, withstand abrasion and patina nicely over time.
It is comfortable—the most important feature of a chair, surprisingly not always the top priority of chair manufacturers. The Field Chair flexes to a comfortable angle when sat in but still provides plenty of support, it is wide and sits low to the ground—all desirable traits for a relaxed outdoor experience.
PROCESS – We built multiple prototypes starting with cardboard fit models then quarter scale models, leading to full sized 3D printed prototypes of the hinges and finally CNC machined hinges in 6061-T6 aluminum. A local bike builder bent the tubular legs for the prototypes and working samples. We partnered with Joshu+Vela to create the pattern and sample for the cover. The current sample chair has been weight tested to 300+ pounds. Our manufacturers are vetted and we’re ready to move forward with production.
COLOR CHOICES — black, grey or olive.
Color choices will be collected at the end of the campaign.
REWARDS – For special reward requests (like multiples), please click 'contact me' next to our profile image.
WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING – We have invested our own time, money and energy to get the field chair to the state it is currently in: a working sample. If we meet our fundraising goal, we will green light our manufacturers and be off to the races. You’re investment will pay for raw materials, tooling and labor.
The canvas and leather covers will be made locally in the Bay Area. At this point, the metal parts will be produced in China but we are working hard to find a domestic partner that will produce our small quantity request.
WHAT'S NEXT? There will be some minor changes to the design as we go to production. We have learned a few things as we thoroughly tested the working sample. We want this chair to be handed down to your grandchildren so we have added some more meat to possible failure points on the hinge. The changes are reflected in the images below. The other changes are to the finishes on the metal. The finishes on the sample are powder coating (legs) and raw machining (hinges) and are not holding up to wear and tear as well as we'd like. Therefore, we are specifying hard anodized finishes on both metal parts. This is usually used for very high wear objects like military rifle parts and should hold up extremely well to anything you’ll be able to throw at them.
February 18th – March 19th – Kickstarter Campaign
March / April – First pass manufacturing and production part testing
May / June – Manufacture and ship final parts
June / July – Receive, QC, assemble and ship
THE TEAM – Shape was founded in San Francisco by husband and wife designers Karson and Mary Shadley in 2008. They have since moved across to the sunny side of the bay to raise their daughter and tend their garden in Oakland.
Karson is an industrial designer with over a decade of consulting experience and is an Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts. He has designed and developed dozens of successful products over the course of his career—many receiving awards and recognition.
Mary earned a degree in print design at Western Washington University before moving to San Francisco nearly a dozen years ago. She has designed and managed production on numerous print campaigns, brands and books.
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Risks and challenges
By reducing the number of parts in the Shape Field Chair, we have reduced the risk of failure. That said, we will be working with a factory locally and one overseas and there will be challenges. We're industrial and graphic designers by trade with over a decade of experience each and have gone through the process of bringing dozens of products to market. We understand how to work with factories to produce quality goods. Sometimes getting the part right can take longer than expected, but the part will be executed to our standards.
We have identified our preferred manufacturing partners and are ready to start cutting tools. But we also have safeguards and backup plans in place if we're unhappy with the parts our current partner is supplying. The tooling costs are low enough on the 2 aluminum parts that we can move to another facility if we are unhappy with the results and can't find resolution with our initial manufacturing partner. However, that could add time to the production schedule.
We have allowed for roughly 4 months to manufacture the parts, ship them to California, QC and assemble the chairs and ship them to you. It's ample time if everything goes smoothly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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