With a woven, plastic-thatched seat and wooden sliding arms, the traditional campsite folding chair is one of the more nostalgic pieces of outdoor furniture. Yet its bulky design and cheap materials make it prone to breakage—not to mention hair-snagging and finger-snipping. To address the issue of both form and function, San Francisco–based industrial and graphic design studio Shape—founded in 2008 by husband and wife designers Karson and Mary Shadley—thought up the Field Chair, a modern update on the campground staple.
“We wanted to make something that was durable in the traditional sense, but simple and interesting enough that your grandkids can’t wait until you get moved into a retirement home and your gear is up for grabs,” half-jokes Karson. Weighing just under four pounds even when clad in its waterproof duck canvas shell, the Field Chair is a testament to refined design—one that took multiple quarter-scale models and full-sized 3D-printed prototypes to get right. Identical, hard-anodized bent aluminum legs and repeated hinges are anchored by a military strength axle, giving the chair its distinctly sleek look. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the unique construction and materials allow for a bit of flexibility and one impressively comfy camp chair.
Though they’ve served as design consultants for outdoor brands in the past (including Snow Peak), the duo is now focusing on the manufacturing and licensing of their own creations. “As consultants, it’s not often that we get to have control over the entire process from concept to manufacturing—at some point we usually hand off the design to an engineer or developer,” Karson explains. “For the Field Chair, we started with an idea and bootstrapped it to the point we are now. It’s been extremely rewarding and really fun.” If the Field Chair is any indication of what’s to come, we certainly suggest keeping an eye on the Bay Area studio. Visit the Field Chair Kickstarter today to secure a seat with a pledge of $150.
Images courtesy of Shape