Imagine the world had actually turned out to be flat. Inconceivable. And how about your walls? Perhaps we should free them, too, from their planate constraints? Cue Wood-Skin. It’s a new, malleable composite material that can give architectural surfaces texture with a cool 3D effect. Wood-Skin is tissue-like, as flexible as fabrics but as rigid as wood, made of nylon mesh and triangular-shaped tiles. The faceted, computer-generated triangulation pattern allows it to be highly customizable. The wood skin bends where it creases.

Wood-Skin can be used for a variety of applications, from self-standing flat structures like partitions, panels and walls to  three-dimensional shapes like furniture (chairs, tables, shelves). It’s “programmable furniture” in the sense that 3D modeling technology allows companies to envision a skeleton of what their desired product would look like, while also figuring out the dimensions of the triangles – while consumers might get easy-to-assemble furniture straight of the box (shipped totally flat) with no assembly required.

The Milan-based company’s origami-like structural material is featured at Milan boutique Maison Margiela (it looks like marble curtains); also at Reign restaurant in Dubai (both with a walnut finish and shiny, black laminate); and on a Programmable Table in cooperation with MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab. The latter arrives completely flat and pops up into a stable piece of furniture without the need of any tools (see bottom image).

“The good thing about Wood-Skin is that you can disassemble and re-use it as many times as you want without throwing it in the trash. You can fold our furniture up and store it under the bed when you’re not using it,” COO Susanna Todeschini told the Dublin Globe at the Web Summit 2015.

The system comes in a wide variety of shapes now, as well.

“The revolutionary Fold Panels collection, which takes WOOD-SKIN’s patented technology to the next level, frees the 3-dimensional expression of the architect/designer’s creativity, transforming inspirations into concrete projects capable of generating previously unimaginable forms.”

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