Upwell design work stackable furniture

Lift | Stackable Seating

Lift is a seating concept constructed out of molded acrylic and bent steel. The main goal was to create outdoor stack-able seating, that had a high-end appeal without having a high-end price tag. The project was a design competition for an acrylic manufacturer.


Upwell Design modern furniture

Protean | Customizable Seating

Our comfort level with an individual can often be reflected by the distance we keep between them. I was observing how people behaved at a crowded party where a love seat – which has very intimate proportions – was the only seating available. Often the seat was occupied by only one person, while others stood around the other empty side of it, or sat on the arm of it. Occasionally two friends or a couple would occupy it together, but a level of comfort or tension was always felt.

Protean is an experiment in how seating proportions can reflect our relationship, or how we feel about the other person occupying the same space. The seats can slide close together – eliminating distance and consequently creating two “side tables” – or they can slide far apart creating one long table as well as one large social barrier.


Upwell Design Furniture work

Prototype Construction

The chair interior substructure is built using 3/4″ pine supports spaced every 6″ connected by lap joints. The chair had to be incredibly solid in order for the 1″ solid birch plank/table to cleanly slide through both chairs. Its finished with grey industrial felt and walnut veneer. the legs are solid welded aluminum square stock with “rolling pin” castors so they can only roll in one direction.



Upwell Design DL gaming furniture

DL | Low Seating

The Down Low is a modular seating system. It was originally inspired by video gaming habits and the temporary furniture that supports it. Often smaller more movable furniture like milk crates or bean-bags are pulled out from a corner or behind the couch – even the coffee table becomes fair game for seating. Most of this seating is low to the ground and often spontaneous.

The focus was to create seating that was flexible, engaging and refined enough to deserve a permanent location within a space – it shouldn’t have to go away when not in use. The Down Low may take inspiration from gaming habits, but this modular seating encourages casual gatherings and works for any social setting.


“The Down Low chair is a flexible living room seating option that’s certain to make you think twice about your seating height preferences in the near future…”  ApartmentTherapy.com


Furniture design and process, upwell studios

Down Low prototype construction
The Down Low is constructed of bent aluminum, topped with an upholstered cushion. A felt pad is adhered to the base for easy mobility. I explored using bent just plywood, but went for comfort instead… That shop rug also doubles as a napping rug.



Bernhardt | Via Lounge Seating

The Via lounge chair was designed for Bernhardt Design – one of the most respected and established furniture manufacturers in the the US.Via explores the interaction between two very different materials – steel bar and wool fabric. A single piece of steel weaves its way through the wool upholstery, functioning as legs and arm rests when needed. The intersection of these materials highlights their stark tactile differences while creating rich moments of interaction between two unlikely materials.


Original furniture sketch, via, upwell design

 Original Via concept sketch


Bernhardt | Edge Lounge Seating

The Edge chair was 1 of 2 contract lounge chairs designed for Bernhardt Design – one of the leading furniture manufacturers in the the US. It was the first time I was given the opportunity and freedom to design modern seating for such a well known and visible client within the furniture world.


Edge focuses on the relationship between the hard structural frame and the soft upholstered cushion. The goal was to create a clear delineation between the two responsibilities, yet at the same time make it clear that they were very united – I didn’t want a cushion “on top of” legs – I wanted a cushion “held within” a structure. To achieve that gesture the upholstered cushion was set within the frame wherever it came into contact with it – from seat to back rest – there is always a space physically removed from the walnut structure so that the cushion is held within it.


 Furniture sketch fro edge, upwell design

Edge early concept sketch
The majority of this chair was conceived and designed by hand, even the construction drawings – sadly a fleeting process.