The concept was born from the objective of creating a new eco-friendly composite material that could replace fiberglass in the construction of furniture that could be produced with local, sustainable materials from the Sardinian craft tradition. In fact, nowadays it is important to understand the impact that any design has on our planet in terms of energy consuming and exploitation of resources.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
My idea was to design a versatile piece of furniture made with a new bio-composite developed by me and based on flax , wool felt and a sustainable resin made of wood pulp and recycled oils. This composite, known as FiberFlax, has the same mechanical properties and strength as fiberglass but being completely environmental friendly.
The legs are made of okume, a wood from the marine industry, known for its high resistance at moisture and therefore used for the making of the finest ship components.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The seat has a shell like shape being slightly inclined on the back in order to provide to the user a more comfortable sitting position. The wool felt positioned between the layers of flax in the composite material, absorb and hold the heat of the user keeping the seat warm and giving to the material a wood-like perception to the touch.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The Project started as a graduation research project on May2013 in Alghero(Sardinia, Italy)where the material based on flax and wool was studied, developed and tested. The first prototypes for the application of this material to furniture pieces started in Milan and ended on April 2014.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The process used for the development of the stool's seat is a manufacturing technique borrowed from aerospace and automotive, known by the acronym of VARTM (Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding), for the construction of high-performance composites. The vacuum applied to the mold creates a pressure differential which is used to push the resin from its container to the dry fabrics impregnating them. These technique allow the fabric to adsorb only the strictly necessary resin, avoiding any waste.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The stool has an height of 400mm for a width of 420mm and a depth of 380mm
stool, furniture, okume, bio-composite, flax, wool, reciclable
After an extensive research on different types of materials, the choice fell on felt, flax and a particular type of ecological resin. Linen and wool felt, in the last years, have appeared successfully in world of bio composites. The right thickness of the bio-composite seat was researched and tested to enable sufficient strength, taking also into consideration the weight of the stool for shipping purposes.
The hardest challenge during the development of the stool was to find the right natural materials that could deliver the best mechanical properties. Another big challenge was to adapt a manufacturing technique used in the aerospace industry for the realization of fine composites parts, for the making of piece of furniture using the bio-composite developed by me.
TEAM MEMBERS (1) :
Francesco Frulio Industrial Design, 2016