Base 6: Adaptive couch

We use our living rooms for many different purposes, so why doesn't our furniture help facilitate these different scenarios? Base 6 is an adaptive living room couch made up of 22 individual foam cushions that can be rearranged to create different seating structures. It can quickly change from a classic high back couch to a flat pad with a headrest, and anything in-between. The Base Six couch can be used individually, or by rearranging a few cushions, can transform into a collaborative work space for two. The foam cushions and wooden frame measurements are based around multiples of 6 inches to create a system that works in almost any configuration. A process video showing how the couch was built and how people interact with it:

To build a successful adaptive piece of furniture I had to first understand how the modern living room was is used. Unlike designers, most people are not great at imaging things in 3D space so I created a hands-on research tool to help get people talking more freely about their own living room, without being hindered by processing mental 3D models. I had them recreate their personal living room out of the blue foam blocks, and then prompted them with open ended questions to see how their living room changed based on different scenarios. From this research I discovered that living rooms breath: during intimate gatherings with only a few people all of the furniture moves inward towards the middle of the room, but during larger social gatherings the furniture gets pushed outwards and up against the walls. This occurs because visibility and throughways are important to people, and especially because of the high back and arm heights of most couches and chairs, people were constantly forced to move them around. Informed by the research I began sketching and iterating on possible design concepts and directions. After settling on a final concept, I made several 3D prototypes that I then gave to people to let their imaginations run free and see what kinds of couch formations they could come up with, as well as get their feedback about what improvements needed to be made before building a final full scale prototype.



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