Paul Sullivan designs


I usually began a design wondering how to show off…

. . . the strength, utility or structure of a material or object. The steel chaise started with the pair of steel cartwheel rims. They’re so springy that it’d be fun to bounce/sit on them. Without the cartwheel or other support, however, it’d be hard to sit on them long. Even if you were able, they’d pretty quickly creep or deform to oval.

I came across some sections of a discarded lumber mill saw blade. They provide the seating. Where the blades are welded to the cartwheels the latter are quite rigid, and the rest of the circumference is stiff enough. Creep is also minimized when the chaise is in use since the weight of the sitter is directed into the saw blades. OK, my engineering explanation is awful, but it’s fun to talk like that. The most inspiring design book I read is by a structural engineer, J E Gordon called Structures: or Why Things Don’t Fall Down. Trying to think in these terms informed my design sense.

Aerials are continously adjustable, but it’s an attributre that is seldom used. They’re either fully extended or full retracted. For the 5 pounds or so of flowers, pot and water, I needed 6 aerials to resist retraction. I only needed 4 as long as the weight of f, p and w, pushes the aerials into a spiraling twist. That naturally occurring twist gave the aerials heightened resistance by curving the aerials and making htem more horziontal.

The table’s challenge was to make a pack flat item that required no tools to assemble. Finally, I looked at the broken fan blade unit until I finally wondered, “What would Alexander Calder do with this?”

These pieces were designed and built between 1999 and 2007. I think they’re in chronological order.