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JEANBAG™ – Making ideas real

June 3, 2013

JEANBAG™ Prototypes

JEANBAG™ The coolest beanbag made from denim jeans started as an idea for the Brisbane City Council’s Tip Shop Art Competition. The problem to solve was transforming something from recycled materials—materials too good for landfill—into an artwork or product that people would love to use.

Designers often start with an idea, a thought, a feeling, an intuition, a sound, or a problem to solve and then work towards making that idea, thought, feeling, intuition, sound or solution real in a physical form. We test our ideas, make little explorations, draw diagrams and sketches, create mockups… We make prototypes.

I find the best way to approach things is simply—to keep everything as paired back as possible, creating maximum impact through minimal intervention. So, after I decided to refine my material choice down to one fabric—denim from denim jeans—and to work on a functional product, I began prototyping. For JEANBAG™ I used paper to model possible shapes (pictured) for a beanbag with the goal of keeping the form as simple as possible with minimal sewing required in the construction of the form.

I also made a few sketches of possible ways I could incorporate the many variations of the colour ‘blue’ in the denim jeans. Because I kept the form of the beanbag simple, it provided a great canvas for a more detailed and organic pattern using different sized pieces of denim.

Then, I made a full size prototype in fabric to test the proportions. I filled this with bead filling and conducted a ‘sit test’ to verify scale, volume and fill quantity for comfort.

Once all the dimensions were confirmed, it was on to make a full scale model in the final fabric…

How do you work up your ideas? Do you sketch or model or does how you approach your prototype depend on what it is?

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