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Wikiseats’ allow users to take design of home furniture in their own direction

Courtesy of wikiseat.org

Nicolas Weidinger sat wondering if he could make a chair out of items he had around the house. After his first failure, the addition of a metal brace yielded a stable seat.

That experience was the impetus for the Wikiseat project. Participants are given a “catalyst” to use as the basis for the seat. It is three steel pieces welded together.

“It’s a science term, what starts a reaction,” Weidinger said. “It’s the central structural support that if I give this to somebody, it could start the reaction of them building a seat.”

This piece bears the brunt of the force allowing weaker materials to constitute the rest.

“These seats bring in a balance of tension and compression forces,” he said. “It is not like the traditional chairs. That’s practically all compression.”

The project was designed to create a network in which people would be able to communicate and help each other.

“I was really interested in how people share information,” he said. “I was interested in how to make networks between people.”

With a catalyst in hand and the website on my monitor, I set out to make my own Wikiseat.
When fastening the pieces of wood for legs, I had to cut it level.

“One of the participants was real stressed out about that. They couldn’t get the thing to sit flat on the floor. Another person made this tool where you could mark how to make the legs flat,” Weidinger said. “They talked to each other and shared that information.”

The website’s index had a picture of the tool and linked to more information. With a few screws through the attachment points, the legs were in place.

With the legs attached, I needed to fabricate a seat. I chose to take a simple route with plywood. Cutting a board into pieces, smaller ones were placed under a large one to help distribute weight.

After leveling off the top of the legs, I laid the board on top.

I drove nails through the top of the seat into the legs. It was attached, however shaky.
The whole process took no more than two hours and cost about $30.

“It’s relatively easy,” Weidinger said. “You can go (to the website) for inspiration from that first or you can just start looking around your environment for materials that might work and figure out how to put them together.”

Weidinger will be showing wikiseats at the Ohio State University Urban Arts Center, from June 8 to June 12. They can also be viewed at the website, wikiseat.org.

Catalysts are free. Those interested in building a seat can contact Weidinger at info@wikiseat.org.

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