Guided exploration of physically valid shapes for furniture design

Nobuyuki Umentani, Takeo Igarashi, Niloy Mitra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


It is common to use computers to design shapes of physical objects such as furniture, but geometric modeling and the physical validity of shapes are conventionally considered independently. This makes creating aesthetically pleasing yet physically valid models challenging. In this paper, we propose an interactive design framework for the efficient and intuitive exploration of geometrically and physically valid shapes. During any geometric editing operation, the system continuously allows visualization of the valid range of the parameters being edited. When one or more constraints are violated following an operation, the system generates multiple suggestions involving both discrete and continuous changes to restore validity. Each suggestion is accompanied by an editing mode, which simultaneously adjusts multiple parameters in a coordinated manner to maintain validity. Thus, while the user focuses on the aesthetics of the design, our computational design framework helps to achieve physical realizability by providing active guidance to the user. We demonstrate our framework on plank-based furniture designs with nail-joints and frictional constraints. We use our system to design a range of examples, conduct a user study, and also fabricate a physical prototype to test its validity and usefulness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalCommunications of the ACM
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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