furniture design + build
prototype 'R', 2003 | prototype 'Y', 2005

Sign chairs 'R' + 'Y' emerged from a series of investigations into the physical characteristics embedded within a handful of discarded materials: tires, milk jugs, plastic bags, vinyl, and road signs. When harvested and strategically manipulated, these materials are extracted from the waste stream, not only rescuing countless embodied energy, but also repurposing rich historical narratives inherent in the materials.

Prototype R [a chair for 'R'eading] begins with careful framing of reclaimed sign graphics. The signs, composed of a strong, yet brittle aluminum alloy, are cut, carefully folded and assembled. As with sheet metal, the strength of this material comes from strategically located folds that provide structural stability. For this prototype, the material qualities of the signs are reappropriated into the life and function of the chair as the upper portion of the backrest is left to flex, providing supportive lumbar to the chair.

Prototype Y [a chair for the 'Y'ard] takes advantage of the long term weather-ability of the signs. Building on the intimate knowledge of the material qualities from earlier hands-on experimentation, details were adjusted to improve the structural capacity of the brittle aluminum signs.



H I L L W O R K S \ \ \ \ \ \ \ p r o j e c t s


prototype R: paper models replicate the structural and material
behavior of the aluminum signs



the low-tech fabrication begins with carefully selecting and framing
reclaimed sign graphics, cutting shapes, bending forms, and
riveting connections


prototype R [a chair for 'R'eading]


the flexible properties of the aluminum are employed to provide a supportive lumbar


prototype Y [a chair for the 'Y'ard] : early sketches



prototype Y: paper models replicate the structural
and material behavior of the aluminum sign




the low-tech fabrication begins with carefully selecting and framing
reclaimed sign graphics, cutting shapes, bending forms, and
riveting connections




prototype Y [a chair for the 'Y'ard]



prototype Y [a chair for the 'Y'ard]