Fieldlab UPPS

A Mass-Customisable 3D-Printed Home Office Desk Chair ​​

Zon & Hoofd Design


This project aims to design a parametric, 3D-printed chair personalised to the unique body characteristics of home office workers, addressing the challenges posed by traditional office chairs in home office environments. The chair's design priorities ergonomic support, seamlessly integrating into the user's home while promoting a healthy posture. The process involves extensive research into chair design, market trends, and ergonomic principles, coupled with user interviews and literature studies to define a healthy posture. A key component is the development of an algorithm that translates body measurements into a customised chair design. This design focuses on supporting various postures, ensuring comfort, and maintaining a natural spine curve. The project's initial phase includes creating a chair prototype, conducting user tests, and refining the backrest shape through diverse measuring techniques. The chair's design particularly emphasises the backrest and lumbar support, essential for a balanced and comfortable sitting experience. Future research will concentrate on further validating the backrest, enhancing measurement methods, developing other chair components, improving comfort, and streamlining the customer experience for chair acquisition. This innovative approach to chair design not only offers a personalised seating solution but also contributes to the broader understanding of ergonomics in home office settings.

Problem definition

The goal of this project is to design a 3D-printed parametric office chair, which can be adjusted to the personal body characteristics of the user and aesthetically fits into the home environment. This mass-customisable chair is designed to promote healthy sitting by being comfortable and supportive across various postures.

Workflow description

Collect phase


Surveys and studies have been conducted to understand home office workers' ergonomic needs, focusing on the setup of their workspaces and maintaining proper posture. The development of ergonomic backrests and lumbar supports involved exploring various body measurement techniques to create designs that are both comfortable and supportive. The first technique used full-body scanners to capture 3D scans of participants in seated positions, allowing for comparisons with existing 3D models from the DINED database. A second, less accurate method involved photographing participants with a reference object to gather body measurements.


The third technique used a kyphosometer to accurately measure the back curve in various sitting postures, providing detailed back curve shapes. Physical measurements of specific body landmarks were also taken to enhance the accuracy of digital measurements. The aim was to develop a personalised backrest setup that is not only comfortable but also easy for future customers to measure themselves, prioritising simple physical measuring methods for user accessibility.

Analyse phase


The data from the 3D scans was processed using mesh mixing software and then matched with DINED models in Rhinoceros for a thorough comparison.


At the same time, kyphometer readings were brought into Rhinoceros, adding another level of comparison with the 3D models. This detailed comparison also took into account the information from the photographic method, by importing photos into Rhino to accurately analyse the back curve. An important part of this process was using the 3D model as a standard to make sure the digital design of the custom chair matched the customer's virtual model perfectly, blending design with practicality.

Design phase

Parametric Modelling

In the development of the backrest and lumbar support, a prototype with a modular backrest was created, allowing for the formation of personalised backrest setups for user testing. Prototypes were designed in Rhinoceros and then transferred to the physical prototype. These parameters were then used to develop an algorithm in Grasshopper, a Rhinoceros plug-in. This algorithm generates a parametric 3D model of the chair by converting body measurements into a personalised shape that aligns with the user's body characteristics. The algorithm operates on the principle of using nine key points to establish the chair's general shape, which dynamically adapts when input parameters change.


After finalising the design and parameters for the backrest, lumbar support and other chair elements were also determined. This algorithm was also tested by 3D printing a personalised chair prototype.

Produce phase

Production Technique Selection

The project's objective is to develop a 3D-printed office chair that can be rapidly produced once body measurements are obtained. The 3D printing technique facilitates the creation of a personalised chair shape without the need for costly molds or manufacturing additional parts.


The final prototype of the chair was also produced using a large robotic 3D printer. However, further development of this process is necessary, as the current production technique still requires significant post-processing and improvements in terms of sturdiness.

Use phase


After 3D printing two personalised office chairs, they were placed in the home office environments of the participants for long-term testing. Since these chairs were still prototypes, padding was added to the backrest and seat pan to enhance comfort. The results indicated that the chairs' shapes fit well to the body contours and provided adequate support. The lumbar support, correctly positioned in the lumbar region, ensured comfort and helped maintain a natural spine curve across various postures.


The project concludes with significant insights into the principles of healthy sitting and posture, and how chair design can support these aspects. This knowledge was incorporated into the development of an algorithm that converts body measurements into input parameters for a 3D model of the home office chair. These measurements are obtained using simple physical measuring instruments to record specific body landmarks. The parametric model, created using Grasshopper, can then be 3D printed and transformed into a desk chair, the aesthetics of which are suitable for the home office environment.

No items found.