The amazing Hollow Chair
Fine Woodworking is primarily a how-to magazine, less about worshipping at the feet of the masters than bringing their best techniques to you the reader. But occasionally we break our own rule and simply showcase the ideas of someone special. One of those people is Vancouver’s Judson Beaumont. His whimsical, “what-if” furniture rattled a few cages when we featured it in a recent issue. But what good is FWW if it doesn’t make a few waves? (Don’t answer–it’s a rhetorical question)
So I had to share Jud’s latest project with you. He does a lot of work for big firms (Disney Corp. among them) and he designed the “Hollow Chair” so companies can put anything inside for promotional purposes. Like most of Beaumont’s best pieces, this one started as a simple idea: What if a chair was completely hollow? That led to a sketch. And THEN he figured out how to build it. The best designs are usually born that way, in my experience.
To make the curved pieces, and ensure that they would be strong, Jud used the power of CNC, realizing he could build up the form in layers. An assistant did the programming, making all of the pieces out of just 1 ½ sheets of Euro ply, with holes to register them to each other for a smooth final surface. It was then all glued together, sanded and stained. The back rest and seat are upholstered. Like always, I find Jud’s engineering mind just as inspiring as his fearless designs.
For more of Beaumont’s work, check out his website, at www.straightlinedesigns.com. Even the name of his company is tongue-in-cheek–there aren’t many straight lines to be found.
Anything you want can go inside.
I never would have pictured the chair in the window or lobby or advertisement for a health club, but that's why I'm not Judson Beaumont. There's even an artist's deft touch in the arrangement of items.
And so on.
It started as an idea, and a simple sketch.
This chair really shows the possibilities of CNC, and how you have to change your thinking to use this new technology to its full effect. The cross-sectional strength of plywood, and the perfectly repeatable cutting path of CNC, let Beaumont re-imagine his curvy panels as layers.
The registration holes make the lamination a cinch, leaving a smooth, curvy form that is extremely strong. Pure genius.
Ever seen a chair like this? I haven't. What is special for me about Beaumont's work is how it is both modern and revolutionary, yet perfectly proportioned.