New Zealand industrial designer Holly Bradshaw-Clegg has designed a stool with an integrated reading light that is activated when pressure is applied to its seat.
The seat of Holly Bradshaw-Clegg's Pascal Stool is filled with layered foam and topped with a series of vertical laminated pine rods. The light is activated when the user sits on the seat and the rods compress the foam below, completing the device's circuit.
"While reflecting on my daily activities, I took note of simple tasks that could be improved. I often get comfortable in my chair ready to relax, read, or work on my laptop; only to realise I have forgotten to turn the light on," Bradshaw-Clegg told Dezeen.
"This problem could have been solved with a simple light switch next to the stool, but I wanted to take it further and focus on a positive interaction with the stool. I wanted the whole design to be encased around an element of surprise."
As the pine rods move into the foam, they create a contoured ergonomic shape that makes the stool more comfortable than it looks.
They are capped at one end with high gloss white steel and unfixed, so they can be positioned either way up to create a wooden, steel or patterned seat.
"As an advocate for form follows function; I really wanted to explore the interactivity with the user and how the stool could adapt to the ergonomics and positions in which each individual sits," said the designer.
Bradshaw-Clegg worked with Metco Engineering to cut and bend the steel and used Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) technology to shape the wooden parts.
Steel is also used for the stool's legs, which connected both on the floor and under the seat.
"The top side of the stool was hollowed out for the rods, and the bottom was machined to a specific design to account for the housing of the electronics as well as the ability to recess and attach the legs to the stool," said Bradshaw-Clegg.
The light features a blown-glass bulb and a manually turned pine wooden bayonet, hung from a textile cord that is partially recessed into the steel stem.
"I like to have a balance of contrast between materials, and therefore chose a high white gloss paint for the metal elements to highlight the depth and grains of the cross-laminated pine wood," said Bradshaw-Clegg.
"The idea of contrasting materials is also reflected in the black and white zig-zag textile cord, that travels from the base of the stool and up to the bulb; recessed into the metal arm."
Bradshaw-Clegg is currently studying for a Bachelor of Design Innovation at Victoria University of Wellington.
The Pascal Stool has been selected as a finalist for the New Zealand Best Awards 2014 – winners will be announced at an awards night in October.