Course Title: Contemporary Furniture Design & Construction (Ergonomic)

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2009

Course Code: BUIL5379

Course Title: Contemporary Furniture Design & Construction (Ergonomic)

School: 320T Design (TAFE)

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5111 - Diploma of Arts (Furniture Design)

Course Contact : Julian Pratt

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4820

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Leo Sadlek

Office: Bldg 71.3.01

Ph: 9925 4150

Nominal Hours: 110

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre: BUIL 5377 and VART 5822C

Course Description

In this course students develop an individual and innovative approach to designing and making an item of contemporary furniture specifically addressing ergonomics, such as a chair, and using timber as the basic material.

This course focuses on design and construction of prototypes of contemporary chairs.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBA640 Contemporary Furniture Design & Construction (Ergonomic)

Learning Outcomes

1. Use ergonomic design principles in the development of a number of concepts for making a chair
2. Conduct design development, designing ergonomically for human usage.
3. Construct an ergonomically designed piece of contemporary furniture.
4. Upon completion of construction of the ergonomically designed item of contemporary furniture, evaluate the process

Details of Learning Activities

  • View seating examples from historical perspective.
  • Examine the work of designers responding to a similar brief.
  • Examine steps and strategies involved in the design process.
  • Investigate conceptual ideas in relation to the design of an item of seating.
  • Compile results of investigation into a presentation to your peers.
  • With reference to your conceptual research, sketch ideas to develop initial visual response to the brief.
  • Individual tutorials with instructor to discuss pros and cons of initial ideas.
  • Develop through the design process the a short list and eventually a final concept for a seating design.
  • Present your concept to your peers for review in a tutorial.
  • Resolve the design through the use of trial testing of ergonomic and structural aspects, 3-d mosk-ups, measured drawing to scale and full-size and materials investigation and specification.
  • Construct a full-size prototype of your seating design.

Teaching Schedule


  1. 27.04.09:  Introduction to Seating Brief; Examination of Design Elements; Video of historical example
  2. 4.05.09:  Design Elements presentation and excercise; Presentation of individual research to peers
  3. 11.05.09:  Individual tutorial to review and discuss initial sketches in response to brief.
  4. 18.05.09: No class
  5. 25.05.09:  Individual tutorial to review and discuss short list of ideas for seating design
  6. 1.06.09:  Sketching and Drawing studio
  7. 8.06.09:  Mock-up and testing.
  8. 15.06.09:  Mock-up and testing; Final Presentation of seating design to peers.
  9. 6.07.09:  Seating Fabrication Workshop
  10. 13.07.09:  Furnitex Exhibition Week
  11. 20.07.09:  Seating Fabrication Workshop
  12. 27.07.09:  Seating Fabrication Workshop
  13. 3.08.09:  Seating Fabrication Workshop
  14. 10.08.09: Seating Fabrication Workshop
  15. 17.08.09: Seating Fabrication Workshop
  16. 24.08.09: Seating Fabrication Workshop; Projected final workshop for Seating Fabrication.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

• Brief: Describing market for piece
• Design folio of: Sketches and development work
• Production of item: completed furniture item
• Craftsmanship: assessed for structure, accuracy, finish, materials choices and quality control
• Self-Assessment: A written assessment of the finished piece

Assessment Tasks

Assignment 1: Research. After brainstorming the idea of transformation an idea for how to apply this concept will form in your creative minds. For assignment you will make a short presentation to the class on your conceptualization of transformation. Come up with several images (3) that illustrate this concept. Please do not use an image of furniture to illustrate this concept. Also indicate which eco-design strategies you would like to apply to the development, fabrication, use or disposal of this product. Present this to the class and also submit one copy in A4 format.
Due Date: May 7, 2009
10% of final Seating assessment

Assignment 2: Sketching. Present in your A3 sketchbook at least 40 sketches of ideas for your storage project. These sketches should be relaxed drawings covering both a range of ideas as well as refinements on a theme. You should be generating about 6 basic ideas and explore them with several views, details or variations. Include notes on aspects that may be easier to notate than sketch. From these 40 sketches develop a “short-list” of 6 ideas. Your development work of 40 sketches will be reviewed separately and discussion of your favoured ideas will take place during the afternoon session.
Due Date: May 14, 2009
10% of final Seating assessment

Assignment 3: 3 Runner-up renderings. Refine and condense your short list down to 3 ideas. Present these ideas as rendered sketches in A3 format (in your folio). One concept illustration per page, please. Other information on the page should include notation on special features, some indication of materials, dimensions, scale and budget. These renderings should be presented in a professional manner employing neat and creative drawing techniques as well as a confident and well informed delivery.
Due Date: May 28, 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                      10% of final Seating assessment

Assignment 4: Presentation Drawing. One A3 presentation drawing of your final concept. Present this information to the class. You may also use other media to illustrate your concept at this presentation. Submit only the A3 presentation for assessment.
Due Date: June 18, 2009
10% of final Seating assessment.

Assignment 5: Orthogonal Drawings and Materials List. 2D orthographic drawings of the chair and individual parts where necessary. Submit in A3 format. List of materials including all raw materials, hardware, special tools and finishes that you will use. Submit in A4 format.
Due Date: June 19, 2009
10% of final Seating assessment

Assignment 6: One completed chair prototype.
Due Date: October 28, 2009
50% of final Seating assessment

Assessment Matrix

Course Overview: Access Course Overview