This design project, based on practical, material research, was made possible by a combination of resources, such as computational design and simulation, mechanical testing, robotic milling and manual crafting. The two prototypes built to prove the bending active components, successfully showed that this allows for producing comfortable surfaces to seat on, adding interesting curvature to the design and being lightweighted. Since wood was the material of choice, this approach to reduce the amount of material used was very relevant for the design to become environmentally conscious and to reduce the costs of production. Unfortunately, the presence of irregularities like knots and cracks due to shrinkage of thin veneer, affects also engineered materials like plywood and requires to consider some margin for material waste. This reduction of resources, was also met by the design of the connections. Both sewing and riveting were applied on different prototypes, but although sewing showed to be aesthetically appealing, it added logistic complexity and some instability to the process. In the end, the outcome of this project is considered to be satisfactory and shows potential for industrial production, which should be explored.
Student design project by Leonard Balas and Patricio Lara, University of Stuttgart. tutor: Simon Bechert
Design Studio: Material and Structure, SS 16