I designed the DIY Chair to be constructed using very cheap and basic building materials readily available from your local DIY (do-it-yourself) shop or hardware store, using simple hand tools and joinery methods, by you. A design for everyone and anyone; mass-production in fact, but production by the masses rather than machines.
My DIY Chair was inspired by lots of things I suppose. Of course I am familiar with Enzo Mari’s ‘Autoprogettazione’ (‘Self-design-project) of 1974 and the ‘Rough and Ready’ furniture by Tord Boontje in 1998, and there is no doubt that my DIY Chair has both aesthetic and sociological similarities, but I hope that my personal approach to a single material and method of construction (a common thread with all my work) in conjunction with the current industrial and economic climate, provides adequate justification for my DIY Chair to exist and enough incentive for people to make one if necessary. My DIY Chair provides a template for affordable and functional design easily constructed by both the highly technical and less practical person alike, using the most basic of tools and materials. But nobody need make the chair if they don’t require one. This is partly the point. The number of DIY Chairs produced will coincide directly with the number of DIY Chairs people want or need. Supply and demand in synergy, controlled quite naturally by the consumer.
The design consists of 31 pieces of wood all of which are exactly the same size (47cm). During construction one piece of wood is used to measure the spacing between the slats and to help locate all the other pieces. I suggest using ‘Smooth Planed Pine’ which is a softwood commonly used by the building industry and has a smooth, splinter free surface. The idea is to use a local or indigenous wood that is easily obtained, affordable and sustainable. The dimension of wood required is 34mm x 18mm and typically available in lengths from 2 metres to 2.7 metres. I bought seven lengths of 2.7 metre pine. The critical dimension is the 18mm x 34mm cross-section of the wood as this dictates the width and depth of the DIY Chair and also the spacing between the seat surface and backrest slats. If this is not available as standard in your hardware store, a second option is to contact your local timber merchant or saw mill who will be able to offer you wood with the exact dimensions. This can be a surprisingly rewarding option allowing you to select your favourite type of wood from a plethora of soft and hardwoods available. Alternatively you can simply use my DIY Chair instructions as a template to design and build your own chair, table, stool etc. You can edit the design and assembly as much as you like. The possibilities are infinite.
In England, where I designed and built the original DIY Chair, the wood and the screws required to make one chair cost just £9.77. Thus it is possible to self-construct a dining set of eight chairs for less than £80. The point is, the DIY Chair is a piece of furniture that you can construct yourself, sit on and be proud of.
Please follow the instructions below and send me a picture of your DIY Chair once finished