When the chair was invented, the patent office wanted to know what it did. The inventor replied: "You might want to sit down for this."
This report comes to us from Arthur Harsuvanakit. Arthur is a Senior Designer at Autodesk. You may recall his work with the Elbo Chair. Arthur has been working with world-renowned industrial designer, Philippe Starck.
Milan Design Week is an international design fair, held annually across the city of Milan, Italy during the week of April 9-14. It is one the largest design event of the year with over 500,000 people attending from 188 different countries. Originally focused on furniture, lighting, and home furnishing, the fair now covers the broader categories of industrial design, including automotive, telecommunication, technology, and fashion.
Senior Director of Design Futures, Mark Davis, and Senior Designer, Arthur Harsuvanakit, attended the event on behalf of Autodesk Research to support the release of the "A.I. Chair," the result of their collaboration with renowned Industrial designer Philippe Starck and Italian contemporary furniture maker Kartell.
The aim of the project was to use Generative Design to produce a minimal chair design within Starck's given design constraints, as well as adhere to the constraints of injection molding manufacturing. Over the last year and a half, Arthur and the Starck's design team drove the generations process towards an outcome that met the defined requirements. Once the design was finalized by Starck's team, Kartell joined the project to manufacture the chair.
The A.I. Chair will be the first chair for the commercial market using Autodesk's generative design technology and is a demonstration of how generative design is empowering today's designers to reach new heights in form and function.
Currently, Kartell is finalizing the tooling needed for the chair's injection molding production. The A.I. Chair will be made in six colors of polypropylene thermoplastic and is expected to be available for purchase by this June. The cost of the chair is still being finalized, as is the target production amount, but to give a reference, the last chair Kartell and Starck released together was the Masters Chair which sold 100,000 copies in the first six months, at a unit price of $225.
Special thanks to Bea Cassignol who lead client communications throughout the Starck project as well as Kim Losey and Sandra Gnos who supported the communications during the reveal in Milan.
Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., efficiency, performance, quality), with less (e.g., energy, raw materials, timeframes, waste of human potential), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). Generative design offers the opportunity for better with stronger chairs that use less material but maintain aesthetic qualities.
Chair-ity is alive in the lab.