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Barely Chair

Creating a physical object that defies the laws of physics

 
 
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For Roche Bobois’ Seating for Dining competition with Parsons, Danielle Connelly, an architect, and I collaborated to capitalize on our expertise, combining the most soft and feminine qualities of textiles with the structural and formal qualities of architecture.

Barely Chair is both visually light, easily blending with a variety of environments and tastes. It is also physically light- made from one single 1,000 meter long string impregnated with soy-based resin, it's total weight is less than a kilo (merely 2.1 lbs).

Our objective was to allow textiles to transcend the limits of structural dependency. How could we dissolve the traditional structural scaffolding of furniture while strengthening a fiber to become both the structure and the upholstery?

We paired careful geometries with a composite of eco-friendly soy-based epoxy and cotton butcher string. This created a wear-resistant, structurally sound and lightweight material that is aligned with Roche Bobois’ sustainability goals of minimal materials and a long service life.

One key insight of our vast material experimentations was that circular knit patterns coupled with cylindrical geometry yielded extremely robust properties. That became a basis of all our future models.

We needed to develop a mold with unique demolding capabilities that would disguise the exit points of the molding rods and create interior voids which increased the strength of the chair.

The form became driven by these two keystones: the mold and the circular knit volumes. They asserted their presence upon on each other. The rods controlled the shape of the chair but were also influenced by the tension of the fibers.  

For more information, including material and molding experiments, visit www.barelychair.com.

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