When you think of furniture designs in the far future, you might think of crazy generatively designed stools that hover in mid-air or chairs that push themselves around like a Roomba to fit your Feng Shui taste of the moment. But these designs don’t actually SOUND comfy now, do they? Apart from the unease of having a chair with a built-in rocket, reading on a piece of levitating furniture doesn’t sound like a good way to spend an afternoon.
French designer Stefan Marji has another idea. Instead of creating fantastical, energy-consuming chairs, why not create ones which are made out of as little parts as possible and assemble themselves?
His armchair concept tackles with the idea of using shape memory polyurethane to create furniture that configures into its original shape as soon as you take it out of the box—not unlike a mattress. This means the product takes up less space while being shipped (since it’ll be squished into a tiny box) but most importantly, it requires almost no assembly once you get it in the mail. Just pop it out and let the chair stretch itself out!
To illustrate this concept, he creates a 3D model of a single piece armchair using PTC Creo and Rhino before rendering in Keyshot. Although the prototype is assembled using a variety of parts, Stefan’s design philosophy is to make the chair from as few parts as possible, with a hard 15mm thick outer shell for support and a softer inner shell which conforms to the sitter’s needs.
This is where the use of shape memory polyurethane shows another advantage. Unlike most armchairs which are hard and force your body to bend a certain way, Stefan’s armchair design adjusts itself to the user’s posture and allows them to move freely (just so long as they keep their balance).
It’s an awesome design to be sure, and Stefan has put a lot of work into the intricacies which make this armchair the comfy-looking beehive it is. You can find more pictures of the armchair on Behance, as well as links to Stefan’s other design projects.