Triplex Stool is an experimental piece of furniture that pushes the physical limits of a stool; from structure to weight; assembly process to the afterlife. The super-light module is made of biodegradable flax fibre, one of the strongest natural cellulosic materials found. Designed with a strategically curved geometry, the stool stands elegantly on its arches and embraces weight above. It is intended to be carried along when moving apartments or cities. Its stackability is ideal for shipping and storage.
Faced with the urgent impacts of climate change and the effects of over-consumption of plastic and concrete on the environment, designers have to react. Tackling these requires a new understanding towards how resources, manufactured goods and consumer products are exploited.
The material was the main starting point as the team was intrigued by the notion of a composite material. Promoting materials that are fully recyclable, non-toxic and biodegradable, is important. Flax fibre has not been widely used in furniture. Yet it has superior qualities that are game-changing in the industry. Similar to the physical properties of carbon fibre, the team took advantage of the flax fibre's high tensile strength to create a geometry that utilises curvature to attain structural performance. There are calculations, algorithms, simulations and automation processes involved.
The rate of bio-degradation of the stool is affected by the condition of the environment depending on the types of microorganisms and physical factors including UV radiation, temperature and oxygen etc. It takes more than 6 months in a controlled environment to decompose. The team believes that their testing and trials are a step closer to a better and more cyclical approach to design, where the current “buy and discard” approach of consumption is objected to. The stool will be expected to be used by multiple generations. But when it comes to the end of the product's life, it can disappear responsibly.
The limits of the prototyping and manufacturing process are constantly pushed by improving the production methods as well as the material combination. The first batch of Triplex Stool prototypes were made with a hand-laid process where multiple layers of flax fibre fabric were put together with bio-resin applied into moulds for vacuum bagging. The final prototypes were made using flax fibre and biodegradable PLA with the help of aluminium moulds. The team is also trying out other manufacturing processes that involve infusion and autoclave.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Flax fibre, PLA