You spend all day sitting in your chair working at the computer. But what if that chair treated you like royalty? That’s the concept behind the Gaming Throne, a luxury computing chair that cinematographer and inventor Sean Fairburn has designed in collaboration with his teenaged children.
A Computer Chair Fit for a Monarch
Imagine a deluxe Adirondack chair with comfortable padding, an adjustable footrest, and built-in trays and bays to support every piece of computing equipment you use — including supports for your arms and hands. And now imagine that it’s elevated so that the person sitting can have a comfortable conversation with someone standing next to the chair, or working in an adjoining chair. That’s a Gaming Throne.
Fairburn spent decades working as a cinematographer, particularly in the specialized field of stereoscopy, in which he holds patents. He was designing a camera multiplate, which is an adjustable fixture that allows you to mount a piece of equipment in place. But as he worked with his son on the project, he realized that the boy would get uncomfortable and distracted during long sessions sitting at the computer. Once that happened, the collaborative process broke down.
Realizing how many people — gamers especially, but also millions of others — spend endless hours at the computer screen, Fairburn set out to design a product with a much broader appeal than his specialized multiplates. Working with his sons, he has designed and built a luxurious chair that caters to high-end computer users, providing tidy places within arm’s reach for everything from a PC tower to cables to water bottles.
Collaborative by Design
As our own Curt Chan points out in the accompanying video, the result isn’t just comfortable and convenient for the solo computer user; it also invites collaboration with other people. As mentioned, you can be sitting in the chair and talk easily with someone next to you, but there are even shelves on the back to support more computer monitors for people who need to look over your shoulder. Unsurprisingly, each Gaming Throne is also built to work seamlessly with Fairburn’s multiplates, which can hold cameras, phones, tablets, and more.
The chairs are also designed through a collaborative process. So that he can better teach his children the concepts of design, Fairburn has chosen not to touch the computer during that process. His sons do the driving, which he says “forces us to work together.” That interaction allows the boys to work with their Dad, and allows him to inform their thinking as they design together. As Fairburn puts it, “I provide the perspective — the guidance —the why,” while his sons control the software and learn the how.
From Design to Manufacture
When Fairburn and his sons were working on multiplates, it took more than a year to design just three parts. After his son Caleb brought all their design files into Fusion 360, they were able to design 20 more parts in less than a month. As Sean puts it, Fusion 360 is “amazingly helpful at making the distance from creativity to design completion much shorter.”
Caleb’s experience helped him land a professional CAD internship at a large engineering company when he turned 18; his first task there was to rebuild all of the company’s parts in Fusion 360. Now his younger brother Nathanael has taken over creating layouts of new parts for Gaming Throne.
With the prototypes designed and built, the Fairburns are now working to scale up their business with an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the manufacturing equipment they need.
Building a Family Business
Sean Fairburn is intent on building a premium product that’s well worth the money — like a Mercedes-Benz. Beyond that, though, he wants to build a thriving company that he can pass along to his children, who will know the business better than anyone because they’ve helped build it.
Moving from multiplates for cinematographers to high-end chairs for serious gamers and other computer power-users also puts the Fairburn enterprise squarely into a much larger market. So even though they are building a prestige item that will appeal to the uppermost niche of users, that niche is still quite large in terms of the number of people it contains and the amount of money they’re willing to spend on high-end equipment.
Ultimately, that’s what a Gaming Throne is: high-end computer equipment for your body, so you can get the most out of your high-end electronics.