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How to make:
A chair with form

Utzon's Universe

Malene Abildgaard & Julie Dufour
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Before you start, we recommend that you try our first Utzon's Universe excercise: making a figure of yourself.

In this exercise you are going to let yourself be inspired, like Utzon, by the gentle and organic forms of nature in designing a chair. Find a flower and examine its forms. Let yourself be inspired by what you see in the flower when you design and build a proposal to a chair at 1:20.

1 cut flower
Coloured sketching paper, size A4
White pipe cleaners

Magnifying glass
White coloured pencil
Scale figure, 1:20
French curves, optional

What to do

1. Examine your flower with the magnifying glass.

• What forms and lines do you see?

• How are the petals situated in relation to each other?

• Is it symmetrically structured?

2. Draw the flower using white coloured pencil on coloured sketching paper. Focus on the forms and lines in the flower. Draw it as big as possible, and try to follow the soft curves of the flower from stem to petal in one movement.

3. Now you have to use your observations of the forms and lines of the flower as inspiration for the design of your chair. Draw sketches of your ideas using white pencil and coloured paper. You might want to use French curves to help with the soft curves. Let your thoughts and ideas roam freely, and try several different sketch designs. It is good to have several sketches to choose between when you have to decide which idea you want to develop further in model form. 


1. Choose the sketch you like best and build a model of it using white pipe cleaners. Use a 1:20 scale figure model to help you maintain the correct size and size relationship.

2 The pipe cleaners can be joined by twisting them around each other. Start with long pieces of pipe cleaner - you can always cut them shorter, if needed.

3 Build several different sketch models before you choose your final design.

4 When you have chosen your final design, look at it carefully. Can you recognise the forms and lines of the flower?

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