Behind the Scenes in Our Shop: Designing the Perfect Chaise Lounge

Behind the Scenes in Our Shop: Designing the Perfect Chaise Lounge

Posted by Jillian Northrup on Aug 7th 2020


At Model No. we live at the intersection of technology, sustainability and design excellence. Built on a collaborative and diverse team of engineers and fabricators from various backgrounds, we continually challenge ourselves and each other to produce furniture that delights both our customers and the environment.

Our most recent design challenge? Customizable ergonomic seating.

While simple on the surface, custom seating requires in depth planning in order to create a furniture piece that can:

  1. Retain an attractive aesthetic in multiple configurations
  2. Accommodate a variety of body types comfortably
  3. Be accurately sized for both individual bodies and the dimensions of the room

As an added layer of complexity, we also had the lofty goal of wanting to design more than just "seating". We wanted a statement piece. The kind of furniture that would make people say "wow" at first glance, whether in a home or office setting.

Our Chaise is the culmination of these efforts: a strikingly beautiful lounge worthy of a prominent placement in your front foyer or office. Want another opinion? Check out this article from Real Simple: I Designed My Own Ergonomic Furniture and I’m Never Going Back

Designing the Chaise: our In-house Process Overview

As most designers, we start with an initial round of sketching and brainstorming. Knowing the basic form of our Chaise would be 3D printed on the large, custom built 3D printers in our facility, we had a general idea of what kind of forms we should design..

Our in-house 3D printing technology, combined with the programming we’ve put behind every design, allows us to offer instant custom sizes to the customer. We wanted to be sure we not only offered that in our Chaise, but that we could make it ergonomic as well.

Finding the right combination of form and customization options required many iterations of sketches and small scale prototypes, working collaboratively with the design and manufacturing teams.

Insider's Note: We make small scale models of all our ideas, partially because it is very easy for us to do (we have the printer capacity!) but mostly because it is a really good way to quickly and inexpensively make design decisions. Once we see the small version of the piece in hand, we can do preliminary stress tests and visual proportions analysis, letting us know what changes we need to make for the piece to be truly functional as well as beautiful.

Customizing the Chaise: Technology Breakthroughs

Because the Chaise is very large for a 3D printed object (coming in at almost 4ft long and 3ft tall at its largest), the 3D printing of a piece like this is fairly challenging. In fact, no other company right now is doing anything similar at this scale! We have blazed our own trail and resolved the manufacturing challenges.

We know that our customers expect to receive their custom orders fast—as fast or faster than some "off the shelf" retailers. Holding to that expectation for the Chaise meant that we had to be aggressive with the print times, while also adhering to strict quality controls to ensure each piece is both beautiful and durable.

Our proprietary 3D printing technology not only lets us meet these aggressive fabrication to ship goals, but also lets us create forms that can only be done on mass through 3D printing.

The outcome is a design that is easy to customize using the configurator on our website. The customer can enter simple dimensions that relate to them, allowing our powerfully developed software behind the scenes to create a piece that will fit ergonomically.

Bio Resin & Hardwoods: Fabricating the Chaise Lounge

Coming from a long track record of designing and building things, we are not intimidated by the fabrication details. We always keep the fabrication in mind during the initial sketches.

For example, the dramatic customization our customers enjoy with every Model No. piece is only possible because of the 3D printing and other digital manufacturing technology we have in the fabrication studio. The two week lead time is a key consideration when we're creating designs and iterating on the kinds of customizations our customers expect.

This is also why we like our design office to be physically right next to the fabrication studio. Being a doorway away from the actual fabrication process keeps our designers in tune with how our design ideas are working, and we are able to solve issues quickly and efficiently, getting our products to market faster.

Which Design is Right for Your Chaise? You Decide!

If you'd like to see how all the different aspects of the design, fabrication, and customization of the Chaise Lounge come together, look no further than our user-friendly Customizer for the 221 Chaise Lounge.

Play with the design options and see them directly reflected in the digital prototype model. And if you'd like your very own custom version, it's as easy as a few clicks to go from your imagination to our fabrication studio. We are so excited to hear what you think about it! Please drop us a line to ask any questions, or just to chat. We’d love to hear from you!