Working with wood, one learns quickly that flexibility is lost when thickness is added – but strength is lost is you make something too thin. One solution is to try and take the best from both properties, as this ingenious seating system does.
Titled Spring Wood, the series of three pieces shown here each represent hundreds of hours of prototype modeling, building, carving and testing by recent arts academy graduate (and award-winning) Carolien Laro and associates. Each seat itself has about five hundred machined slices made through it.
The so-called ‘wooden pillows’ that come out of the process are not mechanized, however, in such a way that makes them easy to mass produce. Choosing the right wood cutting and gluing all take time and hand-crafting effort.
Still, the idea is worth the work when one sees the results – self-molding seats that conform in a loose way to the shape of the sitter, and deform in proportion to their weight. Variations on the theme are theoretically endless – with wheels, the flexibility is increased, while a frame provides more rigid support in a stable-location context.
“Experimenting with the traditional sawing of wood led to “Spring Wood”. An ash wood cushion that is springy and decorative. Resilience versus solid and rigid wood. Because I am fascinated by wood and the properties of this pre-eminently natural material, I attended the Wood and Furniture College in Amsterdam after the Art Academy in Breda.”
“Of course, flexibility can be achieved by steaming (Thonet furniture as an example) or laminating (Finnish furniture such as by Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen and many others). However, I did not want to go that way and go on untrodden roads. That was my challenge!”
“This gave rise to the idea of using the wood fiber vertically as with a chopping block. Spring Wood was born. The product has since been further developed in various forms. Spring Wood is not only interesting as a stool: also as a bench for museums, (indoor) waiting areas and in places where people want to sit. And want to experience a special sitting experience! Spring Wood is now used in a series consisting of: The Original, The Paperclip, Restless Legs and The Bridge (three seater).”