Research Foundation News

March 6, 2019

Share a chair: New 3-in-1 furniture option for urban living, restaurants, open offices

Award winner chair A Purdue University professor developed a barstool-style chair with a stackable, interlocking system that allows someone to use it as a single stacked chair or as two or three separate chairs. (Image provided) Download image

Stool-style chair offers convenient, sustainable features for small, limited spaces 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Anyone who has tried to live the urban lifestyle knows living space can be a scarce resource. The average size of a new apartment in the U.S. in 2018 is 941 square feet, 5 percent smaller than 10 years ago, according to RENTCafe Blog, and in Seattle, Manhattan and Chicago they are substantially smaller, leaving little space beyond a bed and kitchen table.

Apartments in Paris, Berlin, London, Tokyo and other international cities are even smaller for those with limited financial resources.

Now, a Purdue University design expert has come up with a solution to help in tight spots. Tong Kim, an associate professor of industrial design in Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts, created a stackable furniture option.

“Our Share Chair design offers a convenient furniture and sitting option for those living with limited space,” Kim said. “This innovation is part of our effort to create furniture design processes and products to change lean manufacturing across the world.”

The Share Chair is a barstool-style chair with a stackable, interlocking system that allows someone to use it as a single stacked chair or as two or three separate chairs. The design has a modern look intended to add a decorative touch to the space, especially when used as the single stacked chair option.

Kim said the furniture is ideal for young professionals living in small apartments or for restaurants and businesses looking to make the most of limited space in downtown settings.

Share chair The Share Chair design offers a convenient furniture and sitting option for those living with limited space. (Image provided) Download image

“Our stool design also opens up new possibilities for businesses that are embracing the open environment office concept,” Kim said. “This chair can be a space-saving and ergonomic option for workers in offices designed to facilitate open communication and seating.”

Kim said the Share Chair ships as one complete unit to reduce shipping costs by more than 30 percent. He said shipping costs typically account for one-third of the overall costs for manufacturing goods, and that shipping in one package eliminates some of the waste associated with more conventional furniture shipping methods.

Their work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, celebrating the global advancements in sustainability of life as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. Sustainability, including lean manufacturing, is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.           

Kim and his team have worked with the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technologies. Kim is also the founder of Wonder Makerspace, a design tech lab for communities.

About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization                       

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University.         

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, cladam@prf.org

Source:
Tong Kim, kim1886@purdue.edu


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