The Sense of Space and Touch


When I started school at the University of Texas at Austin in Interior Design, I was very interested in multifunctional or multi-purposed spaces. This focus led me to become interested in multifunctional furniture. In Design III, one of our projects was to make over a gazebo on Town Lake. I decided to make it a coffee bar/ café. In an attempt to create juxtaposition to the surrounding nature I used two types of chairs with modern twists on classic designs. However I ran into a problem. Some of the chairs I liked did not come chair height, and others did not come bar or counter height. Naturally, I designed them to the appropriate height for the space. By the end of the project I decided that the contrasting chairs were interchangeable in their locations within the space however I would need both types to come in both seat heights. Thus, I designed interchangeable legs with different heights. And what is unique about them is that the body of the chair is not normally seen at bar height. (See images)DHB blog 5 Product Design

Section East West Hybrid

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In the aspect of sensory information I believe the freedom to change the height of your body in a specific seat may have a positive effect. It is very similar to an office chair. No one can deny when they were little, they liked to rise up an office chair, pull the lever, and let is sink down. Other than an office chair there are various experiences we have with changing heights in an interior. What about a salon chair? Getting on a bus? The bus lowers itself to the curb to facilitate better access. Freedom to use these items in different situations helps create a flexible space. The more thought I put into the design right now, I wish I had designed a way for the larger legs to store under the seat or inside the shorter legs.

Continuing in my quest for multifunctional furniture I moved on from changing height on a chair to a chair that could become a table. In Design VI, our project site was the Schneider Building on Guadalupe and 2nd street. We were to turn it into a two-purposed space with one part being a house for the mayor of Austin. In my design, I proposed a museum of the Schneider building as well as the City of Austin. On the first floor, I designed projected photos with accompanying music appropriate of the time of the photograph. To be able to enjoy the sensory experience I created a chair that sat back to back. However, when time came around for a banquet, conference meeting, private party, or even a campaign party, the chairs flip over and turn into a table. For this specific project I designed there to be LED lights in the chair with a resin base as the structure. This picks up on the sense of sight stimulating the mind to rethink what source light comes from.

The experience of the chair itself can be a sensory experience. If the chair-table is used as a dining table a unique experience occurs. The padding and fabric, once turned into a table, acts as a tactile surface in an uncommon place: the top of the thighs and the shins. In a space that is usually cold, it may act as a blanket or exactly what it is: a tactile experience. I can only imagine the realm of textures that would work in certain situations. However the padding and fabric could not weigh on the lap or constrict the guest or it would be a negative sensory experience.

DHB Blog 6 Product design

For my current project, we are renovating the 1940s Buttrey Building on 6th and Colorado St. Exploring the time period, my group found interest in the swanky style of the flappers and mobsters. I can just see a faux fur (real fur is bad J! Go Peta) club chair with a flat dark wood back turning into a large table, reminiscent of the fox, chinchilla, rabbits, and mink wraps.


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