Cory Micah Olsen
Ch(ai)r No. 1
This piece represents an exercise in utilizing the Midjourney artificial intelligence algorithm as a design collaborator for furniture design. Designers are eagerly speculating on the impacts AI will have on design and process, and this piece bridges from possibility to realization. The second image in this sequence is the original image generated from Midjourney's text to image prompt, where I asked the software to interpret "Sol Lewitt designs a chair".
As co-designer my role then became rationalizing the image into a functional piece of furniture through scale and joinery. The piece features Ash in a 1" thickness throughout and joinery includes bridles, a full lap at the backrest, and a variation of a Maloof joint to integrate the seat into the legs.
Ch(ai)r No. 2
Continuing the collaboration with MidJourney AI, ch(ai)r 2 prompted for "a chair designed by Ellsworth Kelly". The spare geometry and bold bright colors make for a convincing translation of form and inspiration.
The first image shows the design sequence from left to right of MJ image, Rhino model rendered using VRay, and the built prototype. The playfulness and colors of the piece led me to develop this as a piece designed for a child, with a seat height of 9".
UT Austin Interior Design thesis project: an exploration into the integration of multiple digital fabrication methods into a single final outcome. The bench incorporates CNC routing, laser cutting, 3D printing and CNC wire bending.
The piece and process were additionally an inquiry into the visual expression or suppression of the utilized technology- the components comprising the bench top are recognizable as a Grasshopper informed script. The base was welded with the utilization of a CNC routed and 3D printed jig assembly. As the jig is absent from the final piece the method of how it was fabricated becomes less clear and the typical visual aesthetics of CNC routing dissolve from the final expression.
Small stool constructed from reclaimed CLT panels, laminated and milled to final form using a KUKA robotic arm with a router spindle. The form is a parametric loft that can be modified into a family of serial difference, each unique. The loft results in a soft drape, reminiscent of flowing fabric.
The stools are mounted on recessed casters resulting in a half inch shadow reveal, enabling the heavy mass of the object to move gracefully as the draping suggests.
Designed with UO Professor Linda Zimmer as part of a research grant through OSU's Tallwood Design Institute and the USDA.
A parametrically designed table that twists on itself as determined by a grasshopper slider. The leg elements are made with CNC routed profiles then mitered and drilled with the use of custom made jigs that correlate to the amount of twist. The top is a piece of laser cut acrylic sitting flush within a floating frame.
Bench in the Round
Developed as a public seating piece for the Venice Biennale, this piece will be featured in the European Cultural Centre's Giardini della Marinaressa. The bench is designed to be "flatpack" for ease of shipping and site assembly. The bench construction is solid Eastern White Ash, finished in a Rubio Monocoat exterior hybrid oil finish. The piece combines fabrication methods of CNC routing, waterjet cutting, and traditional handcraft. At the center of the bench, the Italian Euro depicting da Vinci's Vitruvian man is a small nod to the initial exhibition of this piece.
Analog Cabinet V2
Solid Ash construction with integrated directional Hafele LED cabinet lighting. Horizontal elements cut with a 3-axis CNC before manual profiling. Bookmatched, lapped back slats provide a subtle grain texture symmetry. Top shape provides for a convenient cord drop while allowing the piece to sit close to a wall.
Exploring serial difference, 3D scans of locally found stones from the Willamette Valley will rest in CNC milled tabletops that become individually unique but part of a coherent family. The table top itself references turned forms but incorporates indentations that prohibit the use of a traditional lathe, thus becoming a natural expression of the CNC router. An analog crafted tripod base will complement and contrast the digital processes of the top.
Solid White Oak body with box joint construction, custom integrated interior LED lighting, flat polished Starphire glass shelf, matte white glass top and custom turned tapered legs.
Solid White Oak body with box joint construction, 'secret' drawer on one side with open storage on opposite, matte white glass top and custom turned tapered legs.
Solid Ash and Walnut construction with glazed terra cotta planters designed to sit within the depth of a window jamb. The open top section features beveled supports to cradle the individual pots. Below, two half blind dovetail drawers provide tailored storage for incense boxes, a flip lighter, and a burning box that diffuses up through the Ash enclosure. The Ash frame features hand cut dovetails and dado shelf supports.
A custom piece conceived to house speakers, receiver, turntable and vinyl storage all within a single unit. Primary materials are Baltic Birch plywood, steel and acrylic.
The exterior of the piece consists of a continuous grain wrap accomplished through the use of lock miter corners. While in use, the open lid incorporates a thin steel shelf to display the sleeve of the playing record. A soft close stay allows the lid to close silently, serving as a dustcover while not in use.
Solid wood frame with woven paracord seat featuring a Danish cord technique.
Stool legs feature a slight taper on the two interior faces. Grains are coordinated on all sides to display the notable Sapele ribboning.
Bent Ply Chaise
In essence, the simplest expression of a lounge chair. A single material and single line, contoured to hold the body.
Bent ply construction allows for a minimal thickness while maximizing sectional strength. Process involved creating a foam formwork to define the form while a vacuum bag held the individual layers tightly compressed.
Precedents that influenced the design included Poul Kjaerholm's PK24 Lounge, Claus Grabe's C5, and Jens Risom's quintessential lounge.
E.1027 Drafting Table
As part of a research seminar led by Professor Wilfried Wang at the University of Texas at Austin, the individual bedroom furniture pieces of Eileen Gray's seminal E.1027 house were rigorously researched. Her drafting table, a custom piece for the house, was located in the master bedroom and has long since been lost to time. Building off research by Professor Wang and my peer Olakunle Oni I worked to digitally recreate the piece for accurate renderings and eventually to serve as references for fabrication. With my woodworking background, I recreated the unique waterfall top using a bent-ply lamination formed over a CNC-routed formwork. The drafting surface additionally features a unique telescoping drawing surface that required speculation about its operation and hardware.
Fitting Chair Concept
Chairmakers frequently develop jigs or full scale prototypes to experiment with the fine-tuning of their geometries and ergonomics. This concept adds an aesthetic refinement to the jig itself to allow it to stand on its own as an attractive piece of furniture.
A combination of powdercoated steel plate and perforated steel sheet, chair fitting can be tested by sliding solid steel rod through the perforated sides, secured with cotter pins or spring clips. Seating components can be simulated as planes or slings suspended in the jig. Microadjustments are accomplished by 3D printing slotted spacers to slide over the rods.
Eames Stool Hybrids
The Eames Walnut stools, developed from Ray's sculptural background, are icons of process, form, and function. The originals consist of three unique profiles and are created by skilled wood turners using lathes.
These concept stools form a series where two profiles are combined in each stool, either in a quarter rotation relationship or a half rotation. In the half rotation designs, the original profiles are visible in silhouette when viewed from four sides but will transform as you change your vantage point. Unable to be made with a traditional lathe, these new hybrids can be produced using either a CNC lathe or a multi-axis CNC.