Studies on folding beach chairs

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In this chapter, I’ll present the methods and tools that were used throughout the project, and how they are connected to the research questions stated in the first chapter.

Connection between method and research question

The first research question – “What are some appropriate measurements for seating furniture that can be adapted to this case?” – will be researched through literature study on human ergonomics. What I will look for is figures on heights and angles and will be presented in chapter four.
The second research question – “How can I implement Källemo’s values when designing this furniture?” – will be based on both literature study and an interview. First, I am going to read two books about Sven Lundh and Källemo AB. Later, an interview will be conducted with the current CEO of the company, Sven’s son Erik. What I expect from this meeting is, to some extent, abstract descriptions and information. These will after the interview be elaborated through reflecting-on-action in order the get a more concrete description of the brand Källemo and their values.
Lastly, to answer the third research question – “How can critical reflection be integrated as a part of the process in a project with less restrictions?” – I will conduct a study on how people interact with a range of different kinds of folding beach chairs. The study will evolve around an observation on the steps people go through when using the chair, with a following questionnaire on their thoughts about different aspects of the product. This data will later have great impact on what elements to bring into the ideation phase. Later, I will also conduct a product analysis in regard to materials and mechanics. Reflecting-in/on-action will also continuously be present throughout the process as a part of critical reflection.

Methods used
Literature study

A way of gaining knowledge by studying literature. It involves identifying, locating and analyzing literature such as articles, research reports, books, theses etc. Important is to keep a critical mindset towards the literature and compare it to other sources of information collection. [11]


Interviewing is a feasible method for collecting qualitative data (unmeasurable data). There are different types of interviews; structured – a set of fixed questions that must not be deviated. Often used when you want to be able to compare results. Unstructured – a more exploratory approached interview with following up questions on answers. A useful method for achieving understanding. [11]


A useful way to get understanding of behavior is to conduct an observation study. It basically consists of observing what people do in a specific situation. There are four different kinds of observation studies. In this project I’ll conduct an Ad libitum observation which is most suitable when the topic is new to the researcher. [11]


Questionnaire is one of the most common research instruments and deals with collection of, mainly, quantitative data (easily measurable). Open ended questions can also be used in order to gain qualitative data. It is a relatively effective and easy method. Questions can be divided into different categories such as Factual, closed respectively open, and opinion questions. [11]

Product analysis

Product analysis is the act of examining different features of a product. The analysis enables us to better understand why a product is designed like it is, and might focus on different aspects such as choice of materials, economics, production etc. [12]

Reverse engineering

Reversed engineering can be applied in order to learn how a product works. The method aims mainly at the products functions, and how different parts collaborate with others. It is a well-used method among engineers since it is a way of learning by what has already been made, instead of spending resources on something that has already been solved. [13]

Mood board

A mood board is a tool that collects inspirational elements. It may consist of materials, colors, structures, environments etc. The goal with the mood boards is to make sure you have a clear picture of what the client wants, or if you simply want to share the “atmosphere” with other team members. [14]


Reflection-in-action is a wide practice method which author Donald Schön presents in “The Reflective Practitioner How Professionals Think in Action” (1983). In order to describe it, I’ll first give you a brief background to it. Professional projects have different character. There are the ones that are based on rigorous research-based theory and technique, on the other hand, there are the vaguer practices where technical solutions can’t be applied in the same way. Interestingly, it is the latter that often deals with issues closest related to human concerns. It has turned into a dilemma of rigor or relevance, and how to make use of scientific knowledge by applying it in unique projects with different characters.
Before I get down to Reflection-in-action, I will also present Knowing-in-action. We humans know more than we think we know. Much of that is tacit-knowing, the kind of knowing we can’t really explain, but we just know it. Knowing-in-action is what we know when we are doing the specific action, but outside of the action, we can’t describe what it is we do or how we do it.
Reflection-in-action is the practice of thinking about doing something while doing it. An example of this is when a baseball pitcher explains how to “finding the groove”: “Finding your groove has to do with studying those winning habits and trying to repeat them every time you perform.” (Jonathan Evan Maslow, “Grooving on a Baseball Afternoon,” in Mainliner May 1981) The pitcher is here reflecting on what it is that makes him find the groove. Indeed, there’s reflection-in-action, as well as reflection-on-action, which takes place after the action. Another example is a skillful teacher who sees a pupil struggling with his reading. The teacher sees the issue as a defect of his own instructions, rather than the pupil himself. There and then the teacher has to investigate how to solve the problem, and since this case is most probably unique, the teacher can’t apply the exact same explanations as previous times, and therefore has to reflect-in-action in order to invent new methods. When someone reflects in action, he or she becomes a researcher in the field. The reflections create a new theory base of the specific case. [15]

Function analysis

When designing a new product, it’s important to have a clear idea of the main purpose of the product. By phrasing functions in the wrong way, you risk limiting the ideas and solutions. The function analysis is a tool that can be used to create a base of the functions of a product. Functions can be divided in different levels; main function, sub-function, and support functions. The main function should be stated as wide as possible in order to not limiting the project. Functions that supports the main function, those that are necessary for the main function to be fulfilled, are called sub-functions. Then there are support functions that are not necessary for the main function to be fulfilled, but still adds value. [10]

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The ideation phase is simply the phase when you, with starting point from your point of view, ideate different solutions. It is important that you do not limit yourself in this process, but rather have an open approach by going wide in the diversity and amount of ideas. Ideas can later be taken to prototyping. [3]

Morphology analysis

A way to develop a great range of solutions when dealing with a design that includes different factors is to make a morphology analysis. The method consists of three steps, where you in the first step break down the functions, or factors, in the design. In the second step you list possible solutions to each of the factors. And in the last step you combine all individual solutions into different concepts. It’s crucial that the designer has great knowledge and creativity since the individual solution created a basis for the outcomes. [13]


By prototyping, you can test and evaluate ideas without spending too much time and resources. Prototyping can be done anytime during the developing process, since a prototype can be made up from any available material. It might be anything from trying an angle of a handle made up from two pencils, to a prototype that is supposed to resemble the final design. It is always a good idea to test ideas physically, and especially let others test. May it be the client testing for gaining better understanding of their wishes, or convincing your team members? [3]

3D modelling

This is a process of creating computerized three-dimensional shapes. It is one among different tools which goes under the category Computer-Aided Design (CAD). The introduction of CAD tools has revolutionized the way designers and engineers work, especially when it comes to efficiency. 3D modeling may be used for different purposes such as visualizing, making engineering calculations or production drawings. [16]


The final step in the process is when you let the customer test. By testing you get feedback on your solution, which might lead you to make refinements, or in best case a very satisfied customer. You also have great opportunity to learn more about your customer in this phase by observing and getting response.


In this chapter I’ll describe how the methods described in 3.2 were implemented and conducted in this project. I have split up the methods according to the design process I followed, Bootcamp Bootleg. For results from the research methods I refer to chapter 5 Findings and analysis.

Literature study

The literature study on Källemo was made in order to create a base for answering the research question “How can I implement Källemo’s values when designing this furniture?”. Books studied in this part were “Personakt Sven Lundh” (S. Nordgren, G. Lindqvist, C. Robach, J. Bohlin, G, Lindahl, J. Kandell, M. Theselius, I.Sommar, R. Hanson, P.I. Björlo, R. Tarschys, B. Nörgaard, 2007), and “Sven Duchamp – expert på auraproduktion” (I. Björkman, 1998), both provided by Källemo. The former consists of informal, yet useful stories and anecdotes about Sven and the brand Källemo told by close friends and co-workers. The latter is a thesis conducted by Ivar Björkman where he investigates Källemo’s ideology, and how to successfully operate and make an economical profit with a company that deals with artistic approached products. The books were read and marked where useful information could be extracted. The literature study also came to be the foundation for the interview that was later conducted with Källemo’s CEO Erik Lundh by referring questions to information gathered from the books.
Other literature studies were made on ergonomic features that could be applied into the project, and in order to answer the first research question “What are some appropriate measurements for seating furniture that can be adapted to this case?”. These studies were based on “Sittmöblers Mått” (E. Berglund, 1988), “Furniture Design” (J. Swardzewski, 2015), and “Seating Furniture for Public Interior” (V. Kameníková). Lastly, “The Reflective Practitioner” (D. Schön, 1983) was studied in order to learn more about the method of reflection-in-action, and how it could be applied into this project as a way of critical reflection, which refers to the third research question “How can critical reflection be integrated as a part of the process in a project with less restrictions?”.


A complimentary interview was conducted with Källemo’s CEO, Erik Lundh, at their head quarter in Värnamo (see attachment 1). The interview had an unstructured nature and was conducted after the books about Källemo had been read, so that the questions could be focusing on extracting information I could not gather from the books. By conducting an unstructured interview, I could more easily reach information that I maybe not thought of but would appear to have significant relevance for this project.


A user study was conducted on four different foldable beach chairs in order to increase the validity of critical reflection in the project. The study evolved partly around an observation of how users interacted with the different chairs one by one. This part consisted of going through the process one normally does when using the foldable beach chairs; carrying, folding up, seating and rising, and folding together.
The participants were asked to pick up the chair and carry it approximately ten meters. They were then supposed to fold up the chair without any previous experience, and then take a seat. Up until this stage the participants had interacted with the chair only by touching/holding and looking. When they took a seat, I could clearly see their opinions on the comfort of the chair. After a minute or so, they should raise, fold the chair together and carry it back to the starting point. By observing the users going through these steps, I could note the user’s body language and feelings while interacting with the different chairs, which they themselves might not be aware of.

Table of Contents 
1 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Problem description
1.3 Purpose and research questions
1.4 Delimitations
1.5 Disposition
2 Theoretical Background 
2.1 The beach chair
2.2 Bootcamp bootleg
2.3 Design and emotion
2.4 Cognition
2.5 Design thinking
2.6 Gestalt theory
2.7 Källemo AB
2.8 Seating ergonomics
2.9 Semantics
3 Method 
3.1 Connection between method and research question
3.2 Methods used
4 Implementation 
4.1 Empathize
4.2 Define
4.3 Ideation
4.4 Testing
5 Findings and analysis 
5.1 Ergonomic features
5.2 Källemo’s values
5.3 Studies on folding beach chairs
6 Result
6.1 Material, shape and colors
6.2 Folding solution
7 Conclusion and discussion 
7.1 Implementation
7.2 Further work
8 References
Beach Chair Inspired Seating Furniture

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