The 'Chair': Simulating Team-based Industrial Design

Dr Howard G Denton
1999, Vol. 4, No. 2,


The paper explores the teaching/learning potential of a specific design simulation exercise based on the design of a chair modelled to 1:10 scale in card. This exercise can be adapted and used with age ranges from mid Key Stage 3 to undergraduate.

The reader is shown how such an exercise might be structured in relation to a teacher's specific objectives. Aspects of planning are explained followed by points on the running and de-briefing of such exercises.The paper then explores the teaching and learning opportunities within the general approach. Aspects discussed are:the advantages and limits of simulation as a learning techniquehow the exercise may be used to focus class discussion on different design strategiesdesign in a commercial contextteam based designthe balance of mechanical, ergonomic, material and aesthetic considerations and the potential for integrating mathematical models and the potential uses of ICT.

This is to acknowledge the work of Walker and Cross (1983) who published the basic chair exercise in the Open University text Design Processes and Products and Mr J Flood who added the commercial simulation aspect.

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