6 months ago, we hired a custom furniture designer-manufacturer to create hybrid custom seating and storage for our tiny green office-classroom, designed after a boutique hotel in our company's namesake city Vernazza, a fishing village on the Italian Riviera.
A few months ago, the CEO of the custom furniture design firm said that the first prototype failed structurally. The MDF no-VOC pressed wood sagged when one 180-lb person sat on only 1 of 2 seats. His team had designed, not engineered.
Designer is claiming the need to switch from MDF to solid hard wood ... at 3 times the cost.
Since then, his team has redesigned per the insights, feedback and questions from 11 Upwork bidders. But, he can't/won't do Finite Element Analysis (FEA) or confirm that the design meets/exceeds international ISO or BIFMA office chair & cabinet standards.
See his answers to your questions below.
We'd like an Upwork expert industrial engineer / furniture designer / hands-on furniture craftsman-building-manufacturer to review/critique/improve/optimize the design for durability, simple elegance, lightest weight, cost, and ease of fabrication. Specifically, it has been difficult to find a company to cut the wood & laminate with a CNC router. Laminate seems to double the project cost.
Need strong bench to support full lateral filing cabinet storage (calculate cabinet full of dense copier paper) + two 350-lb seated guests.
We need an industrial design engineer to re-engineer and fix the manufacturer's design, using the existing (donated Wilsonart Tan Echo laminate) materials and design.
The intent of the six two-seater benches:
- surpass internationally accepted design & engineering standards for office seating (chairs) and lateral filing cabinets (storage) re: ergonomics, fire safety, ruggedness, impact on light in space, form (texture, comfort, intrigue, etc.)
- to be used daily by up to six sustainable real estate consultants for hidden, secure (lockable) lateral filing & other storage
- to be used 3-6 times monthly as a classroom seating for 2 to 8-hour ECO [BOOT CAMP], GREEN [BOOT CAMP] and SOLAR [BOOT CAMP] courses for real estate executives and heads of households
- tiny green office-classroom is 14' wide x 28' long
- appeal to well-traveled real estate executives, but speak elegant (sophisticated) simplicity (frugality)
- lockable rollers suitable for linoleum floors
- retractable (hidden) seat backs that may feature Hawaiian seat back cushions since we've been doing ENERGY STAR benchmarking and certification of commercial buildings in Hawaii
- large single bench seat cushion (not 2 seat cushions as shown in materials takeoff)
seat cushion: 23.1" - wide x 20.0" - deep x 1.88" thick
seat back: 16.3" wide x 13.9" high x 1.88" - thick (?)
Here are the manufacturer's answers to Upwork bidders' questions:
1. You’d said "MDF just doesn’t hold because it’s meant for aesthetic not for actual weight support.” So, how are we back to MDF?
ANSWER: The top can be plywood and the rest can be MDF because it is only for aesthetic. If you really want to use laminate, then MDF has to be used because wood expands or contracts and laminate will come undone over time.
2. Could you please send me a PDF of the AutoCAD, and also send the AutoCAD with materials takeoff and descriptions, so that an industrial engineer can perform the
ANSWER: See 3 new renders
3. For the structure I think have 4 points need to revise:
a) the bottom should add support. ANSWER: Weight is distributed by PTR underbelly.
b) the bottom of seat need to reinforce structure. ANSWER: Seat is made of 1” plywood and weight is supported on all 4 corners evenly.
c) the structure of the back is unreasonable. ANSWER: Internal structure made of metal
d) the door of the lateral filing cabinet also need to amend. ANSWER: none.
ANSWER: For the material I suggest using sustainably grown & harvested plywood (FSC not SFI certified), because the structure stability is stronger than MDF & the cost is cheaper than solid wood.
4. First of all I see no internal support .. which would be blocking , gussets, or support ribs.. this would improve 10 times.. I can do this project this week .. and have it by Friday. I have reviewed the takeoff drawing attachment. What plywood thickness was specified? I can redesign and or improve this concept with some modifications.
ANSWER: Design now has internal frame of 1” thick PTR welded together. It provides a frame and equal weight distribution. We also recommend the cabinet top be thicker (1”) & plywood. In any case, we can provide mid level support for each person by inserting cross bar ptr.