Chayann Aravena

A Seat For stories

Allie is a foundation that supports varying materials to form individual chairs. Using industrial ratchet straps, Allie is able to take on many forms dictated by the material added. The profile is an archetype of commonly associated features used in everyday chairs. By using this archetype the chair is able to transform easily based on the material added.

This project looks at how this active process in creating new objects can form more meaningful connections and how this activity can foster narratives. Through narratives, we can form a history of the object increasing its value and sequentially it’s longevity. My personal writings of my experience locating material, constructing and photographing these chairs is me putting this process into practice.

This page contains the documentation of found materials and their locations using Allie. Streets, alleys, industrial areas, and public places were explored within the city of Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby and Coquitlam. Each entry uses Allie, a frame of a chair, as a foundation to utilize discarded materials. Each chair is an individual that is reflective of its place and its material.

QR Code

Throughout this project, QR codes will lead to the general location where each chair was constructed and its material found. They can be scanned with most smartphone cameras.

Plus Code

This code uses the latitude and longitude of a location to create an address for an area that does not have one.


Applying a 3-meter square grid that covers the globe, each space has a designated 3-word code.

All chairs have a QR Code, Plus Code and a what3words that if clicked or scanned will open a new tab or app. Each tab or app, in a different way, will show the location of where material was found to construct the chairs pictured below.


Seat: Mossy, wet plywood

Back: Mossy, heavy floor tile

Located near my neighbourhood plaza “The Crest”, a place where local youth hang and adults buy groceries. With my Mom, I’ve walked down this alley many times as a child. It is an alley that I visit frequently looking for discarded items.


Seat: Pieces of dusty carpet

Back: Drywall with attached tiles

Behind a local church lays a rented dumpster. It contained old cork boards, rolled-up carpet, drywall, lighting fixtures and tiles. I presume that this church is undergoing renovations. Its parking lot was full on a Tuesday afternoon.


Seat: Middle drawer of a dresser

Back: Bottom drawer of a dresser

A vintage dresser placed in an alley with a free signposted on the fence. There were extra pieces of wood and hardware in the top drawer belonging to the furniture piece. I hope that someone found this dresser and gave it a home.


Seat: Particle board surface

Back: Slightly tinted glass

A pile of junk and garbage bags littered in an empty lot. No shade, the heat makes the food scraps smell bad. The most obvious site where the abandoned material is clearly unwanted.


Seat: Rusted metal mesh

Back: Charred cupboard door

Burnt debris of a home. Police tape used to deter people from entering the hazardous area. What remains is blackened with ash and crumbling. Terracotta roof tiles, unharmed from the heat, litter the scene.


Seat: Driftwood

Back: Driftwood

Piles of sand covered driftwood where the beach meets the path. The red straps got wet and grainy from the sand. Rather than an abandoned material, driftwood freely comes to rest on a shore. Met a black rabbit on the beach.


Seat: Particle board with plastic finish

Back: Particle board with plastic finish

A pile of particle board with a cheap plastic finish imitating wood. The pieces used to fill in the negative space fit the frame perfectly. Finding this alley has thrown off my sense of direction, definitely not an area that I have visited before.


Seat: Couch cushion

Back: Couch cushion

In a neighbourhood that I am not familiar with but is not far from my own. It had an unwelcoming mood. Loud drums in the distance stopped when a dog began parking alerting their owner of my presence. The cushions were damp, muddy, and covered in bugs. I felt rushed.


Seat: Freezer door

Back: Fridge door

Close to where extended family lives. The alleys in this area are harder to find and navigate. Some of these alleys have secret entrances. Both fridge and freezer doors were filled with rainwater.


Seat: Sticks

Back: Sticks

The most natural of the found materials. The ground beneath me was covered in twigs with patches of mud that my shoes sank into. My feet were wet and so were the feet of the chair.


Seat: Cardboard

Back: Cardboard

At a warehouse where my mother works, I have passed this place many times. The sun is more than halfway set making the truck bay looks like a stage with yellow lights from above. There is an abundance of cardboard here. The straps assist in folding the thick cardboard over itself.

This project is dedicated to everyone who has played a part in my story.

Award Recipient

  • The Wood Co-Op/Forestry Innovation Investment in Wood Design Industrial Design Graduation Award

Chayann Aravena

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Chayann Aravena is a material-based designer and sculptor whose works explore found objects, furniture, systems and playing with social norms. Born in Edmonton and raised in the suburbs of Burnaby, Chayann has explored many local areas in BC, the place they call home. Chayann's post-secondary experience began at Langara college. Here he took “Design Formation” a two-year diploma course that was heavily interdisciplinary, from computer graphics, interior design to retail displays. They gravitated towards sculpture as they have a natural interest in materials and the stories they tell. Chayann's next step was at Emily Carr University. His major of study was Industrial Design. He has taken classes in sculpture alongside design giving him experience in both abstract and rational thinking. Curiosity is the starting point of all his works. As a creative, he is constantly dissecting objects, systems, and narratives to discover new ways of looking at our surroundings. This is a crucial part of his design process. Chayann enjoys challenging the conventional with his designs, often with a peculiar and unique approach. His constant questioning allows them to take risks with concepts that may not always be seen as conventional or even practical, however, they come from a very rational process.
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