Centre for Research and Development | Arts
Experimental design project for World Design Capital Helsinki
Jüri Kermik, Design and Craft at University of Brighton, launches experimental design project in Helsinki as part of the World Design Capital highlights and events on 12 September. Shortlisted from more than 100 international entries, Kermik’s design is one of the 47 products at the annual EcoDesign exhibition including James Irvine, Karim Rashid and Yrjö Kukkapuro.
PlyFlax seat ‘Woven Wind’ extends the application of different technological and design possibilities associated with engineered wood. In addition to conventional techniques of plywood production and form-making, PlyFlax combines the advantages of plywood as a composite sandwich material with the enhanced structural performance of the ‘stressed skin’ forms.
Layers of birch veneer, with their own inherent structural strength and flexibility, are reinforced with a skin of flax fibres allowing the reduction the thickness of plywood shells without compromising their strength or flexibility. Flax fibres, woven into a fabric, perform in a similar way to glass fibres. The strength and viscous-elastic properties of natural fibres, and their visual quality, are captured and embedded within a matrix of bio-resin.
The ergonomic concept of the PlyFlax seat has evolved from Kermik’s research into responsive plywood forms. Experiments with flexible structures locked into curved self-forming springs revealed behavioural sequences in geometry and form applicable to seating furniture. Applied pressure causes springs to re-act and to respond to the pressure by adjusting their shape in relation to the weight, position and movement of the body.
Metaphor for the design is adopted from Japan where flax is called ‘woven wind’. This encapsulates sustainable credentials of the material and the processes of making involved. Responsive geometry of the PlyFlax seat derived from the structural qualities of plywood makes a reference to the natural movement and renewable resources involved in the design and making of the PlyFlax seat.