Furniture as a Miniature of Architecture

Cho Lok Man (Architecture)
Harbourfront Public Furniture Competition – Winning Entry

Architecture is not just the dominion of towers and cathedrals but also the expanse for open spaces. Man is currently a Master of Architecture student and the designer of the Weave Chair, an awarded entry for the Harbourfront Public Furniture Competition. With such a compact piece of furniture, she packs great ideas of architecture into it.

The Weave Chair is an ergonomically-designed chair with three seats and a tea table in between. It was crafted with the body dimensions of adults, the elderly and children in mind. This design choice is true to her overarching vision for both the chair and the making of public space: “Apart from celebrating the beautiful scenery of Victoria Harbor, I would like to facilitate the social inclusion across generations.” In a densely populated city like Hong Kong, public spaces are crucial for city dwellers to find respite and enjoy a moment of connection.

  
As a beginner in the role of project executive, Man admits that she still has much to learn. While creating the chair was an enjoyable journey, it was nonetheless an undertaking that requires great patience, diligence, perseverance, and modesty. From paper to prototype to a part of the promenade, the process took three months. Man has gone through numerous fine-tunes for the design during the execution, regarding how the chair intertwines with our body dimensions and provides optimal support. She also has to consider the structural detailings and material for the chair. The back-and-forth procedure also consisted of cost management and coordination with contractors and structural engineers. This working process greatly differed from her typical academic work, but she was extremely grateful for the professionals’ indispensable help.

“There is no greater pride and satisfaction than seeing one’s creation materialised.”

Though the pandemic presents challenges and disruptions, Man is optimistic about the opportunities it can provide as well. Under the pandemic, she notices a rising need for public space, especially for outdoor workers during meal times. Hence, she has included a tea table for the users to enjoy their food on it with ease.

There is no greater pride and satisfaction than seeing one’s creation materialised. Man remembers the installation day of the chair with great fondness and joy, as she gets to “witness over months of effort come to reality and see the furniture where she could interact with it on a one-to-one scale”.

Man believes that receiving public feedback is crucial to architecture, though it is rarely seen in academic work. Architectural students often acquire feedback from professors and architectural critics, but not from the users. She expresses that “furniture is a miniature of architecture, which is about how to interact with our user”. So, if you happen to pass by the Wan Chai promenade, why not take a stroll and relax at the Weave Chair? Man would surely love to hear your thoughts on her creation.

 

More about Man:

Who are the unsung heroes behind the success of the 24th Recognition Ceremony Awardees? Watch the heartfelt thank you messages from Man.

 

Written by:
Christie Lau
Year 4, Faculty of Arts

Video recorded by:
Li Yu Hong
Year 4, Faculty of Business and Economics (HKU Business School)

March 2021