Humber’s annual Chair Show offers solutions to Millennial ​problems

by | Mar 11, 2019 | Campus News, Life, North

Daryna Sarhan, Arts Reporter

It was standing room only at Humber College’s 19th annual Chair Show at the Gladstone Hotel.

Every year students are challenged with a different design concept where they have 10 weeks to design and construct seating solutions. This year’s theme at the March 4 was was the Work Place of the Future and how millennials will work in the next five years.

People gather around to test and judge a chair at the Chair Show exhibition organized by Humber College on March 4, 2019. (Daryna Sarhan)

The winner of the exhibition organized by the Industrial Design program was a chair called CN.TO, designed by Matthew Ham, Stefan Djerkic and Harman Gill.

The Best Use of Materials award went to Singularis, by Borys Chylinski, Wendy Pham and Katya Kiss, while the People’s Chose award was given to the design Athena, designed by Theo Ratelle, Brett Smerchinski and Viktroas Zubrickas.  

Odin Cappello, instructor of the industrial design program at Humber College attending the Chair Show exhibition on March 4, 2019. (Daryna Sarhan)

Odin Cappello, one of the two instructors in the course, said the workforce is changing and students need to be able to adapt to the consumers needs.

“People are working from gig to gig, some of the time they might be working at a conventional work station, other times they might be working while traveling or working at a cafe,” he said.

“For this changing work environment there needs to be new seating solutions to cater to how people that are working and that’s what the students have to do,” Cappello said. 

Students begin the process by researching and understanding the problem, and based on that research they come up with concepts for different types of seating that might solve the problem.

The process includes designing, sketching and rendering, and then followed by its construction at a facility designed specifically for the Industrial Design Program.  

“They make their own molds and are also allowed to outsource it to a supplier if they need somebody to weld the metal tubing or to powder coating, there’s a big project management aspect to it,” Cappello said. 

A woman testing out one of the chairs displayed at the Chair Show exhibition on March 4, 2019. (Daryna Sarhan)

The building process takes six to seven weeks, and students are then evaluated based on the academic criteria such as form factors, human-centred design and sustainability during the exhibition.

However, the instructors do not interfere with the actual competition. Judging is done by industry professionals.

“We step back and we just watch the professional judges do their thing, we have no say in the competition,” Cappello said.

“We’ve got about eight judges that are all from the industry,” he said. “These are all professional designers who design furniture for a living, the students are getting a whole new look at what the industry is like when they talk to all these different judges.”

Jill Barber testing out one of the chairs displayed at the Chair Show exhibition on March 4, 2019. (Daryna Sarhan)

Henry Boy, one of the competitors, said his chair, Apollo, is aimed at providing comfort while travelling. 

“Millennials are traveling more, they are able to work whenever and from wherever they want, so the idea is to maximize every second of time in between flights,” Boy said.

He said he wanted to create a private space while in public, where the person can feel comfortable and safe. 

“We wanted to create something that protects you, the idea that you are protected from behind and can see whats happening in front of you is a very primal thing,” Boy said.

Henry Boy presenting his chair Apollo to the guests at the Chair Show exhibition on March 4, 2019. (Daryna Sarhan)

“We were always a fan of the egg chair but it can heat up, and it hugs you a bit too much, so we are trying to find a balance between hugging you but also having an open space where security can still look through making it legal,” he said.

Paul Kalbfleisch, who attended the event, said he heard about the event last year and was really impressed.

“It’s a wonderful event, you need to get the public in to see it, it’s a phenomenal experience,” he said. “Those chairs are pretty comfortable but I can fall asleep just about anywhere,”