Design Project - Chair

This project was developed by Autodesk® as part of their Digital STEAM Project.


In this project you have the task of designing a chair. To do this you will use design thinking to develop a chair design from a design brief.

Before you begin the project take some time to view the following video, which presents an introduction to design thinking and shows how to use Autodesk® SketchBook® software as a design tool. Follow the instructions in the video to learn how to draw a chair suing this software. The perspective grid used in the example can be downloaded by clicking here. (When the grid has loaded in a web page, save the image as a png file so it can be opened in SketchBook®.) You may use this software, or if you prefer just follow the method described to draw the chair on the perspective grid with a pemcil.

Understand - Explore - Define

Design brief

  • Based on the example chair use your new skills and design thinking to design a chair which can be folded flat for storage.
  • It will be constructed out of MDF and painted a bright colour.
  • You will also be allowed to use hinges and screws.
  • It should be strong enough to seat a grown adult and be light enough to be easily transported.
  • People will be seated on the chair for up to an hour.
  • The seat will be used on a solid flat surface.


  • What are suitable proportions for a chair like this?
  • What are the properties of the main construction material (MDF)? What is its load bearing capacity? Can it be bent and shaped? etc?
  • Are there any existing chairs which can be used as a basis for you design and improved on?


  • With pencil and paper draw some ideas for the chair.
    • Try to work out several alternatives.
    • Perhaps add some detailed drawings to show how the mechanism works.
    • How can you add visual appeal? Your chair does not need to look like the sample exercise.
  • Evaluate your solutions to decide on the best solution.


  • Prepare a detailed drawing of your prefered solution using the SketchBook® software if you wish. you might also want to produce orthographic drawings to assist construction.
  • Collect some material and mark it out. Then take it to the workshop for cutting.
  • Assemble a scale model of the chair. A quarter scale would be suitable.


  • Think about your solution and document any improvements or changes you would make in the light of your experience.
  • Put together your planning documents and design drawings, to present them with your finished chair.


A designer at this stage would be ready to begin producing the chair.

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