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Folded chair
Шапкин Тимофей
English version


Authors: Tim Shapkin, Alan Dzhibilov

This is what happens when architects design the furniture. For architects (at least they are saying that) it's not enough just to have beatiful lines and elegant silhouette. They always need tectonic and structure, they respect honest design. This project is exactly about that matter. This is the case when there weren't any compromise between function and aesthetics, because one just follows from another.

It has been started with a simple idea that everyone knows from school. If we fold the paper the bearing capacity grows significantly.


This technique is often used in architecture, especially in case of overlapping large spans. Because of economic reasons the folds in construction are usually simple and straight, while inner stresses are distributed nonlinear and unevenly. So I desided to correct this injustice. Thus appeared the idea. The algorithm that generates folds accordingly normal stress pattern.

Why do we need that? At first the technique allows to save material. The surface remains very thin. At second it saves space. At third appearance that don't require any further embellishment.

Millipede plug-in helps to implement the concept. All we need is to convert resulting stress lines into folds.

The first experiments were made in archtectural scale. We were dealing with walls and slabs.




Mock-up of the wall that demonstrates the bearing capacity. We used 2 layers of fiberglass fabric + epoxy glue.



While I was thinking where the concept could be useful, the focus shifted from architecture to industrial design. The chair is the best testing ground for such ideas. The small chair should resist relatively big stresses from human body weight.

Preliminary scetches:

01_diagram_folded chair.jpg


Easy to notice the use of such a chair is inconvenient without covering it with additional transparent surface. In this case we lose the clarity of idea.

During design process the basic form of the chair evolved as well as folds generation methods changed. It was decided to keep surface plain at the spots it touches the human body. This led to disruption of direct relation between stress pattern and folds. But the chair gained better appearance. The variety of concentration of the matter came in sight. Now one might wish to contemplate the shape. The final product appearance:



On the sidewalls there are folds creating armrests.



More often I face the problem that the algorithms I work on don't give 100% satisfying result. Always there is something to be corrected and completed manually (without algorithms). Here the same. I can say the chair is made semi-manually or in opposite semi-computationally.)

So, there are plans about prototyping. If you have any ideas how to make a prototype of such a chair (not just 3d print it) please comment. In my opinion folds technique allows to reduce much the material. Supposably except 3mm of plastic it can withstand with 1,5mm. And in case we take composites the thickness could be reduced furthermore. Of course theese are only suppositions but I believe with your help I can prove it.

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