Comfortable rocking chairs are challenging to design, as they are dependent on a wide range of variables – one’s height, weight, centre of gravity and leg length. Some furniture makers use an adjustable chair to get the client’s measurements before embarking on the design and build process. For the project for his Masters of Art Degree Dennis first of all built an adjustable test-rig, which everyone loved, but instead of him making bespoke chairs - consumer research showed that everyone wanted an adjustable rocking chair. The adjustments had to be easy to use, so he used the ratchet concept from the deck chair and developed it further. With the precision of modern CNC routing, he was able to incorporate simple ratchets into the plywood body design. The rocking-chair's back-rest rotates around a hidden axis based on the approximate position of the hip-joint. The 'Owl' adjustable rocking chair has a sculptured seat, originally based on a mold of Dennis' bottom; it has a ratchet adjustment for height (leg length) on the rocker; it has a ratchet adjustment for the seat tilt at the front of the seat; it has a ratchet adjustment for the rotation of the back-rest; and it has adjustment for lumbar support with buckles on the rear of the leather back rests. Each chair is cut from one 4’x4’ sheet of plywood and takes 55 minutes to machine. The chairs do not need to be assembled in the factory by costly labour; they are supplied as a flat-pack - the customer assembles the chair. The chair can be manufactured economically anywhere in the world – the only requirement is a sophisticated CNC Router. The protortype was made from melamine coated plywood with leather arms and back. The chair could easily be manufactured from recyled materials in sheet form.
Dennis is a mature student studying for a Master of Arts Degree in Furniture Design.