Tuesday, 9 July 2013

the pulse coat rail

Back when I started this blog, the idea of creating it was to showcase my work and explain in detail the designs I make. It’s been a while since I last made a new design but finally I was able to take some photos of the completed design which are shown below. And I will explain my newest creation and the reasons for it in this post.

It’s called the ‘pulse’ coat rail and the aesthetical inspiration behind it came from the digital readout of heart rate monitors and medical devices, with a continuous line spiking up and down the screen to register heart rate etc. I had the idea in my sketchbook for a while and finally decided to develop it into something workable. I hadn’t worked with metal before so I spent quite a bit of time researching into what I wanted the metal to do and how I was going to do that. And it soon became clear from numerous mock-ups that I couldn’t shape the metal to the aesthetic/functional requirement I wanted, so I hunted down a blacksmith. Luckily I found one two minutes’ drive away from my home and he was happy to shape a piece of a metal to the design I had drawn up.

The most important and taxing part of the project was working out the profile of the rail and how it would function and accommodate coats, hats, bags, clothes etc. and anything else that might be stored in a hall way or with peoples garments. The reason the rail is designed like this is by the way I observed people using coat rails and stands. People seem to just throw their coats on hooks and stuff scarves, gloves into pockets and hook bags on top of the coats they have just hung up. People don’t seem to use the loops provided in the back of jackets anymore, and just seem to throw/push their garments onto the stands/hooks and carry on with their day. I observed this in my own home, cafes, and public places etc. So I wanted a design of coat rail that accommodated this ‘bunching of clothes’ and ‘hang it up and forget about it’ mentality. Also I wanted it to accommodate other items like bags, gloves, even letters/papers. So people could quickly discard their over garments without having to physically think about hanging something up, the garment would just drape onto the rail effortlessly. And that’s where the loops, horizontal sections and continuous line of the design come into play. The user determines how to use the coat rail; they can loop, thread or stuff their belongings into and around the metal profile. Hang bangs, stuff letters or newspapers into the rail. And subsequently from my trials, hang a large volume of items from this design, more than conventional coat racks/hooks. I trialled many different profiles, using thin sections of wire I could bend by hand into shape before deciding on the final shape shown in the photos. It allows varying amounts of items to be stored along its length due to some straight sections and a few traditional vertical sections for coats to be draped over.

Construction wise, this was a fairly simple design to build, the metal element was made first and luckily it was fairly spot on to the drawings I supplied the blacksmith. So once I had the finished metal section I could make the plinth to mount it onto. Sapele wood was chosen as from working with this wood before I knew it produced a wonderful finish and machined well. I wanted the plinth to be a lot smaller in proportion to the metal section so the design of the loop stood out. And I knew the metal section was not too heavy so the wood plinth would easily support its weight on the wall, via two screws.  


Overall I’m very pleased with the design and the look of it. Originally I wanted the loop element to do just that, ‘loop’ from vertical to horizontal (effectively flow along the wood) etc. With big radius’s between the transitions, but I was limited to what radius’s could be created due to the limitations of pipe benders and the minimum radius’s they could bend too, as this would have to be fabricated in one piece. So the decision was made to bend at right angles to allow the full shape to be made without the limitations of the machine hindering it. I am currently working on having radiuses between the transitions to give a more flowing aesthetic (finding the optimum radi that can be machined will take time ). I am also looking into getting the metal section made by a metal fabricator who could then possibly powder coat the loop, to give some bright/bold colour options against varying types of wood plinths. Resulting in a modern, stark appearance to further enhance the scope of this simple but highly functional design.  

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