SuperFoam chair

Design and craft can be as much (or more) about process as product – certainly the case for this odd hand-crafted chair that owes its shape to a confluence of strange structural circumstances.

Created by Rich Gilbert as an experiment in casting solids around spherical voids (formed by everyday plastic balloons), the result has both solidity and flexibility reflective of its method of making.

To create this cool looking (and highly unusual) chair, Gilbert filled a mold with what looks like hollow balls, like the kind you’d see at a kids’ ball pit in a playground. The material made its way into the cracks between the balls, forming a sort of loose porous structure that ultimately looks like something out of the Alien film franchise.

SuperFoam chair making process

Gilbert demonstrates this process in a series of photos, if you’re curious as to exactly what it looks like. 

Trypophobia hole chair

The final product is greatly enhanced by the addition of a light at the center to illuminate and highlight its bulbous form. Just don’t show any of these photos to people in your life who might have trypophobia (the fear of holes) unless you’re trying to goad a horrified reaction out of them.

“I’m currently studying Industrial Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London and recently produced the SuperFoam chair.”

“SuperFoam is an experiment in trying to create a super-sized foamed structure, in developing a specialized casting process I could design the properties of the foam itself so it flexed and deformed to create the chair structure.”

“What if we had the power to manipulate nature’s structures? SuperFoam is a re-creation of naturally occurring reticulated foam structures through a casting process that facilitates designing the properties of the foam itself. By developing the casting process the properties of the foam could be controlled so the chair flexed and deformed to create a supportive structure.”