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.