7 DIY Industrial Furniture Ideas: Pipe Chairs, Couches, & Desks
If you need a little DIY inspiration in your life, these industrial furniture ideas designed and built by Rodney Adank, Associate Professor of Industrial Design at Massey University, will hopefully be just what you're looking for.
These one-of-a-kind pieces are truly eye-catching designs that pair together vintage and industrial components. From industrial pipe couches, chairs, and outdoor furniture (in a school desk style), each of these ideas were built using industrial pipe and Kee Klamp fittings that were then paired with vintage car seats or chairs from the 60s to 70s.
To spark your own creation, we're going to take a deeper look at Rodney's designs and even cover how the fittings were used so you can build your own industrial furniture. So let's take a closer look...
Industrial Car Seat Chairs & Couches:
HQ Holden Bench Seat
A few of the designs on this list, like the one above, feature a simple approach that uses Kee Klamp fittings and pipe to create the chair or couch frame, while a vintage car seat is used to complete the piece.
The couch above uses the front bench seat from a 1971-1974 Holden HQ manufactured by General motors for Australia and New Zealand. Most front bench seats can be used for this purpose as they generally have a closed upholstered back that makes them suitable for such purpose.
Rodney emphasizes that the selection of the salvaged bench seat or chair is important to maintaining the quality of the design. “Always check the condition of the underside springs and make sure that any bright work or trim is complete. When you use a salvaged seat in this manner it comes under closer scrutiny.”
In a similar construction, the couch below uses the back seat from an older 1950’s era model Chevrolet.
1950's Chevrolet Bench Seat
1950's Chevrolet Bench Seat
The chair below uses a front seat from a Rover 75, which was an executive style sedan manufactured from 1998 to 2005. The chair is complete with powered seat adjustment and front and back gliding functionality.
"Powered adjustment can be easily achieved with the help of a friendly auto electrician and wired to work from a battery or from mains power supply,” says Rodney. "Using salvaged components in this manner brings to the design their embedded functionality such as electrical or manual adjustment."
Rover 75 Chair
The couch below uses a front seat from a 1962 Chevrolet Impala.
Rodney stumbled upon this bench seat when searching for another type of seat and could not resist the beautiful color and 60’s style. The armrests are made from an Australian timber called Purple Heart, that turns red on exposure to sunlight, combined with the bright teal colored seat, this creates a striking, retro pop seating solution for the modern hipster.
Impala Bench Seat
Lastly, the above chair makes use of the front seat from a 1963-1977 Rover P6. You'll immediately notice that the upholstery is missing, which was removed to expose the hidden metal body and punched holes. The steel seat was then stripped and clear powder coated to complete the finish emphasizing an industrial aesthetic.
Rodney mentions how the design was inspired by Swiss Designer, Hans Coray's 1938 Landi Chair.
"The designs came from a study into ‘Adhocism’ a catch-all term for a multiplicity of ad hoc approaches used in creative endeavours. Adhocism focuses attention on the creative moment when two of more different components are brought together to create a new design. The components are often salvaged or deconstructed from larger objects, and their fusion produces a new hybridized concept.
Many of my salvaged components were sourced from ebay type websites, and I even joined the local Rover car club and bought an old 40-year-old Rover 2000 – what was I thinking? However, one of the consequences of searching for salvaged car seats is all sorts of other car seats are offered to you, with different creative possibilities that are irresistible and you are compelled to chase after them.
As a consequence, I have probably extinguished the supply of old Rover car seats in New Zealand, moved on to Range Rover seats, and have used a 1952 Chevrolet bench seat, 1962 Chevrolet Impala bench seat, and from Australia, a 1971 Holden HQ bench seat."
Outdoor Furniture (Industrial School Chair/Desk Units):
In addition to the chairs and couches Rodney has designed, he has also designed a few chair/desk combo units. Very much like the ones in your old high school or college, expect much better looking.
Day Out Chairs
There are two variants of these desk units, one with one chair and the other with two. Both use a salvaged seat designed by British furniture designer, Robin Day. The injection-molded polypropylene seats were originally released in the 1960s with a recent relaunch just a few years ago.
Building Your Own Industrial Furniture:
Now, so we don't just leave you hanging, let's talk about how each of these fittings are used so you can come up with your own unique designs.
First, let's take a look at one of Rodney's couch designs:
On this industrial couch, just a few types of fittings are used to create the frame. At the bottom of the frame, the Flange fitting is used to create the couch "feet". These feet have been mounted on plastic glides to assist location and protect floors. The Flange is also used to attach the couch armrests.
The "Day Out Chair" above, uses primarily the same fittings. Again, Flange fittings are used for the "feet" and to attach the arm rests. Single Socket Tee fittings are used to attach the horizontal pieces to the vertical supports (or "legs").
Now, we can't exactly make out how the seats are attached to the frame, but a good choice for this application would be the Rail Support fitting.
Free Design Assistance for Your Industrial Furniture Build
These are just a few designs from Rodney. He has plenty more to showcase, so be sure to check out his Instagram page to find more of his designs.
We hope that seeing Rodney's designs have sparked a few ideas of your own, and if it has, make sure to take a look at our complete selection of fittings to see how they can work for you. With that said, if you need any help, don't hesitate to reach out to our projects team. We offer free design assistance and will even go so far as to create a 3D Sketchup drawing of your project so you can see how it will look before you build it.