Interview with designer Stanley Clayne Sandström (SS), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Music Chair Sculpture Chair.

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Interview with Stanley Clayne Sandström at Monday 22nd of February 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
SS : The main inspiration for this project is the flow of music. Music is a wonderful gift. Vocally, lyrically, instrumentally, or orchestration, music has the power to convey and arouse deep and tender emotions. Music can penetrate through anger, frustration, and hopelessness, and lift the musician and listener to a better emotional place. The influence of music is felt and seen everywhere, for good. Since I don't play an instrument, the Music Chair is my attempt to celebrate and encourage beautiful music.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
SS : My wife and children play the piano. My eldest son David and his little sister Laura compose, from a very young age. Their music has deeply touched my heart. It is my simple hope that I can touch their heart, and others, with the things that I can do.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
SS : I am an accidental artist with a small garage, and to recreate the Music Chair for others is cost prohibitive. That is why I am agreeable to licensing or other forms of manufacture. This Music Chair will be used by my wife to teach music to little children. We love the sound of little fingers learning to play music in our home.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
SS : The Design of the Music Chair came quickly and in a single sketching session. When a design comes so all of a sudden and in an instant flow of inspiration, you know you're on to something wonderful.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
SS : The Music Chair is all inspiration. A simple request from my wife is all it took to spark my imagination. The concept was simple and straight forward, no research, just get to it and get it done in time for Christmas.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
SS : The Music Chair, I feel, is something unique and beautiful that should be shared and made available to the world. It would be delightful if someone, or some company, saw in the design of the Music Chair something that should be shared and made available to the world. It is beyond me to do that.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
SS : Working with steel is something I have been doing since high school. Other than little steel rod sculptures for wedding cake toppers, this is the only time I have used steel as an artistic expression. All of my work with steel in the past focused only on the structural benefits of steel, not its beauty.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
SS : My late father is the only "designer" that truly influenced this. Not because of his designs, but because of his life and example of loving service. For decades my father would create furniture from steel for my mother based on designs she loved. His work, his love for my mother, to simply provide what she desired was the absolute reason the Music Chair was created. While working late into the night, I felt close to my father, and felt he would be pleased with my work. And if my mother were alive, I feel that she too would be delighted.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
SS : The design of the Music Chair is suitable for anyone who loves and appreciates the power and influence of music. A cellist, harpist, and music teachers are the persons imagined using the Music Chair. Because of the beautiful flowing lines of the design, the Music Chair would make a wonderful addition to any room as an accent piece. The Music Chair would enhance any room, modern, contemporary, or classically furnished.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
SS : The Music Chair is a lyrical expression of engineering. The steel from which the Music Chair is made provides the strength of the chair. Having a minimum of elements, the Music Chair is a tribute to musical movement, visual tone and volume in three dimensional space.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
SS : While the name of the Music Chair may seem obvious and direct, after creating it there were other names that were considered: Music's Chair is one example, but it was decided that keeping the name simple was best. Nothing fancy, just authentic.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
SS : This project only required simple and classic design tools. A 2H pencil and a sketch pad were all that were necessary.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
SS : When designing the Music Chair, I imagined the chair’s Treble Clef to visually move—to flow away and upward to simulate the flow of music in space. The ball that is placed at the top of the treble clef is made to represent the altissimo, or very high notes of music. Lastly the bottom portion of the Treble Clef ends in an elegant spherical flourish that forms the rear or third leg of the chair.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
SS : From the design, to the fabrication, to the flat black finish were all done by Stanley C. Sandström, and his wife too—she was the inspiration, approved the sketch, and encouraged me throughout the process.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
SS : The Music Chair is made from steel, a choice made because of its simple beauty and strength. In this iteration, the legs and back of the Music Chair are constructed using a steel box-frame construction technique. In future versions, I imagine making the Treble and Bass Clef elements using exotic woods, laminates, and/or composites.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
SS : Research for this project involved the selection of simple images of both the treble and bass clefs that were used to sketch the shapes onto steel. Listening to beautiful and inspiring music played a big part in my research.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
SS : The Music Chair was initially envisioned as a very simple and quick project. Once the process began, it became abundantly clear that this was going to be much more involved. To give the chair its strength and yet not make it too heavy, the legs and back of the Music Chair are constructed using a strong, yet light-weight steel box-frame construction technique.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
SS : The origin of the Music Chair was to fulfill a simple Christmas wish. Once I saw the Music Chair in our music room, I thought, "this Music Chair is something special." It would make this Christmas gift not only a gift from the heart, but a gift that could inspire greater appreciation and love of composing and enjoying beautiful music.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
SS : The process of making the Music Chair taught me to be patient. Taking the time to step away, to look from a different perspective with "new eyes" in the morning was a difficult thing to do because of the self-imposed deadline. But, like the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, I found new inspiration each morning.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
SS : While making the Music Chair, I came to appreciate the feel and weight of warm steel in my hand. Working with the steel provided ample opportunities to enjoy the beauty of sparks flying through the air while grinding and smoothing welds. Award or not, this competition has allowed me to discover, evaluate, and to record the process of making the Music Chair. The love of Family, the love for others, and the love of music are now simply expressed in the making and design of the Music Chair.