DANIEL E. OVERBEY 2019

Aura

outdoor seating

We all love relaxing outside on a nice sunny day. However, when the sun goes down, your enjoyment of the outdoors is quickly interrupted. More frustrating still is not having a place (other than the ground) to put the books and drinks you brought outside with you. This problem is often solved by outdoor tables and garden lights. Though these products do provide light and storage, they also contribute to the clutter of a yard. Aura offers an elegant solution to all of these problems so that you can enjoy your outdoor space long after the sun has set.

I began by analyzing the different ways in which people could comfortably sit in an outdoor space. Then I thought about how a piece of furniture could be formed in order to facilitate a certain seating orientation. Once I played with the seating configurations I started thinking about where and how a storage element could be integrated into the piece.  

After I understood the essential elements of the design, I started sketching to explore how these features might look as a whole and visually interact with each other.

I decided to move forward with the design that most successfully provided ambient lighting, storage and seating.  I used cardboard and bent plywood models to test the form and help me better understand this seat in space. My original scale model was for a 24 inches tall version of the seat which was much too high. The first full scale model was 18 inches but was still uncomfortable for shorter users whose feet could not touch the ground when sitting.

Aura primarily functions as outdoor seating. When needed, the cushion can be flipped to convert the sitting surface to a tabletop. In both configurations, there is available storage below the seat so that the user has an elevated place to put the items they brought outside with them. Once the sun sets, the frosted tabletop in either position diffuses light to create an ambient glow and to help the use see well in their space.

Moving forward with this design, I would add a radius edge to the front and back of the tabletop that matches the curve of the seat’s frame to maintain the fluidity of the design. I would use sheets of acrylic to support the cushion for added rigidity and a more continuous fiber optic effect on the frame. An acrylic sheet would also be used to replace the current netting as a more elegant storage solution.

2017