WobbleMelon / RindScreen

At the Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, MA

WobbleMelon (2018)
A Chair for Curiosity and Amusement
that Plays a Role in the Common Plaza
by Rolling Playfully

The current iteration of WobbleMelon is the result of building on top of intuition and being able to positively respond to trial and error in prototyping. This project also benefitted greatly from casual discussion of the work with colleagues, mentors, and friends at the Artisan’s Asylum where this was developed.
When approaching the idea of outdoor seating, I defaulted to the accepted concept of a bench. After seeing this, my inventive tendencies decided to rethink the idea of outdoor seating, and I put more thought into the basic idea of sitting. The idea of this being like a device for holding the rump above the pavement, or a container for posterior gravity, had me drawing a cup in my sketchbook. The round bottom of the cup gave a sense of motion, and the form progressed into a ball, and the idea of sitting on a ball.
The form of the WobbleMelon is a matter of having a ball that is solid material, but it is still shaped to provide comfort to the person using it. The development of the form is built upon my previous experience and education in anthropometrics and things that are comfortable for the body. It is also formed with a revolve profile that keeps more of the weight in its lower center. The sizing of the WobbleMelon is meant to accommodate both adults and children because of the fun shape and motion of the seat. It has an appearance, thanks to the curve of its base, that gives an obvious sense that it should move and gives one who sees it the interest in discovering how it does.
Materials and detail decisions were made with the guidance of familiarity and feasibility. A majority of the work that I do is in wood, and mainly in plywood. I am also capable of using and have access to CNC fabrication and necessary modeling software thanks to the maker space. Thanks to these things, the form is broken down into thirds, and then the thirds are broken down into layers that stack together. A piece of trim, with a matching profile of the revolve, is put in between the thirds to give some visual wiggle-room to the alignments.

RindScreen (2019)
Remnant stock
from the fruit of the Wobblemelon
prepared, preserved, and assembled

The RindScreen takes advantage of possibilities made available to craftsmen by Computer Numeric Controlled machinery in the fabrication process for the Wobblemelon chair, which is a 20” hemispherical plaza seat consisting of a combination 36 profiles per third to create the form using 12mm plywood. Attention to the use of leftovers for the RindScreen guided decisions being made when laying out tool paths that could give the highest yield of product with minimal waste. Reasons could be given for the use of a band saw with templates to be able to produce the necessary profiles, but the CNC plays a vital role in the preservation of the stock material for use in the RindScreen.

Why How
The WobbleMelon and the RindScreen are together an example of the kind of thing that can be the result of a collaborative maker space like the Artisan’s Asylum. It was made as an entry to a competition that was shared with the community by another member. The ideas were developed when presenting them to other designers at the Artisan’s Asylum. Technical feasibility was aided by the ShopBot class that I took at the Artisan’s Asylum, casual conversation with other makers, and the support of the Artisan’s Asylum shop leads. Production was aided by a group of other makers placing a large order of materials for delivery from Boulter Plywood, as well as the space to work with large pieces.

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