Luft is a full chess set designed for light packers who don't want to compromise on their game experience.
The brief was to design a product for the outdoor-camping environment while focusing on hobbies and fun activities in this environment. These were my first concepts.
As part of the research, I stumbled across this scene while going out for a hike. Almost immediately I thought about chess and the products available out in the market for chess boards dedicated to camping and the outdoors.
I started to think about the light packers community and the options to create a full chess set using materials available in nature or super compact and lightweight set.
One of my first ideas was actually the most reasonable. I started making mockups to check scale, weight, materials, and usability.
The material I used was 3D printed TPU. I found out I need to pack a lot of content into the piece to generate enough tension for it to stand. Also, the current configuration made the headpiece look very small concerning the body.
I went back to the drawing board to search for different configurations for the piece. I knew the new piece should be based on a rubber band like material.
I changed the model according to the latest mockup conclusions. I switched to another material - flexible Polyurethane based. I tried two different concentrations to see which has better properties and resistance.
While the pieces are in the manufacturing process (in my kitchen), I started to think about the playing board. I wanted it to be from a strong and durable material while maintaining the color pallet and the connection to the nature environment.
I choose leather as my main material and started to check different marking styles and techniques. needed the markings to be very durable since the board is the most exposed to the surface and environment effects.
After a few scale searching concerning the piece size. I was ready to start the final manufacturing process.
I made a final form and color search for the set in order to create a recognizable family.
The pieces were modeled and 3D printed as molds ready for action. I made a full set mold each time in order to prevent color changes between the pieces.
The original idea was that when the set is not in use the pieces will be wrapped around the playboard. in reality, the playboard was too thick and the pieces ripped off every time I tried. I decided to use the playboard the opposite way and let it be the container for the whole set. I printed endcaps for the playboard when its rolled so the pieces won't fall.