In 2012 the makeLab developed a chair for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Affleck House using a milling technique that results in plywood that can be rolled and bent. Building off this knowledge students: Mike DiGiovanni, Greg Wood, Ghantous El-Tayar developed the next iteration of the chair.
The team began with looking at the opportunities inherent to the material. It was identified that the wood was behaving like “fabric” in that it bends and twists to conform to the metal frame. This behavior was in conflict to the materials thickness of 5/8″ given there is no need for the additional thickness to preform. Reducing the material to 3/8″ was found to be optimal in that it didn’t fail when milled (as 1/4″ did) but was still rigid enough to withstand the weight of the sitter.
Further examination also showed that if wood could bend beyond 90 degrees the chair could potentially fold. By chamfering the slots in the bending pattern the team was able to achieve the +90 degree fold. This result lead the team into a path of research to discover the optimal way to create a locking hinge that is low-cost, light weight and congruent with the stainless steel tube frame. Refinement of all of the components resulted in a wood folding chair, a chair more suitable to a formal setting unlike most of its folding chair counterparts.
photo credits: Lisa Franzoni and Joe Donelko