from idea to paper

Going from an idea in your head to the actual realisation of the ideas is a major and complicated process. It’s the basic challenge for all designers, architects, and artist. As well as in most other fields of work.

When doing chair design. I have my process which I try to follow. Parts of the process has been shown in the other blog updates I’ve done. My process can be divided into 3 parts, though there is certain overlaps and sometimes they might take place at the same time.

I start with an initial  design phase that I call:


Pre design

This was based on my observations on how we inhabit public space in Copenhagen. This phase is based mainly on registrations and knowledge gathered from books, publications, and the internet.

Secondly we have the:


Concept phase

This phase is be more of a sketch phase were I have considered specifications for chairs, what should it be able to do, what are the overall dimensions and measurements. This phase might also include mockups in 1:5/1:10. And this is where I used my sitting machine to help me with size and dimensions. In this phase I also started considerations for materials.

I do sometimes struggle to find out when I should stop working on many different ideas, and instead focus on a single idea. For this chair I was asked why I had not considered doing the chair as a monobloc. But if I had to explore all possibilities of what the chair could be. I might never end up with an actual design, but instead just many different sketches of possible chairs. Or I might have so little time for the actual design of the details and dimensions, that I would not be satisfied with the results. The struggle is often between the amount of time to spent on the concept phase compared to the amount of time I should spend on the actual design phase.

This dilemma is probably much more evident in school projects, where there is more of a focus on the process, the considerations, and ideas, than on the actual end design.

Design Phase

After the concept phase I continue working on my sketches, both computer and sketches drawn by hand. But I start to be more specific and work mainly in 1:1, either on the computer or on 1:1 printouts. This forces me to be more precise with my details and also narrows my focus. The computer is a great tool for working on details and the shape of the furniture, and it’s easy to get a bunch of renderings to look good. But it is also easy to get a false idea of what the design looks like, for a couple of key elements are missing when working on the computer – scale and perspective. There is an immense difference between a computer drawing, a 1:1 printed drawing and the actual piece of design.

When I have come to a point where I start to get stuck on the design. I believe a change of medium is the best way to continue the process. So when I reach a point where I’m fairly certain of what the chair will look like, I print 1:1 work drawings with measurements and head over to a workshop to start work on a prototype. This is where I am at the moment – in the metal workshop welding, grinding and cutting away getting my idea from head to paper to realisation.

from idea to paper

1:1 drawings/ 1:10 drawings / marker drawings

computer sketches

autocad drawings / rhino 3d computer modeling

computer rendering

computer rendering



Matthias Dyrkjaer Kisch is a design student at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark. My main focus, and where my interest lies, is furniture design, architecture on a small scale and design on a large scale . I work with a very hands-on process with many prototypes, models and mockups along with computer and hand drawings.

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