Product classes share the same basic abstract layout, despite their great diversity. The present paper intends to (de)code the variety of types embedded in the class of multipurpose chairs. The contribution of this research is the development of a generative design tool, to be used at the conceptual chair design stage. A framework of five stages is proposed: (1) sample definition, considering chairs with a large diversity of types; (2) analysis of the syntax and semantics of the class through ontological classification; (3) development of a generic shape grammar, innovatively applied to product design; (4) implementation of a digital tool, that provides an interface to manipulate the chair components visualized in a 3D digital model; and (5) user evaluation of the program, in order to draw conclusions on the usability and usefulness of the tool and to collect inputs for further developments.


Multipurpose chairs Ontology Generic shape grammars Generative design tool User experience 



The authors would like to thank the students that participated in the evaluation of the tool, and to Mário Barros and António Leitão for their contributions to the tool development. This paper is part of a PhD research supported by the FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia) grant SFRH/BD/77927/2011, and by CIAUD (Centro de Investigação em Arquitectura Urbanismo e Design).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

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