At first you may think these are structures you lay on the ground and hide under. You wait for children (or old people) to walk by, then with one quick motion rise up like a life-size pop-up book bringing delight and enchantment (or horror) to the children. Architect and Designer Robert van Embricqs is bringing such enchantment with his flat-folding design. Among the mix are tables, chairs and building that begin from a perfectly flat surface then extend into the unimaginable.

Robert van Embricqs

The pieces are practical, useful and hold an elegance that can only be created by such intricate, yet simple, patterns. Taking his inspiration from nature, the furniture literally rises from the ground and comes to life like only folded wood can.

“During the design process, I made a point of sticking as close to nature as possible. Using natural design concepts for inspiration, I studied the various ways in which transformations take place in nature without the cumbersome involvement of man. This inspired the incision pattern in the flat surface of the wood that resulted into the creation of a latticework of ‘woven’ wooden beams that make up the center of the table.”

Robert researches the concept for each design, testing, cutting, laying out the idea to answer the question, “to what degree is the object you’re creating capable of dictating its own design? Is it even possible for an object to ‘tell’ for which form its best suited? And if so, what will the end result be? Following this train of thought led me to discover several interesting options to create a new kind of chair. The foundation of any chair is the flat surface you’ll eventually sit down on. Using this notion as a starting point, I made several cuts in the flat surface and pulled up the different beam-like strands of cut surface. This created the preliminary but already distinct features of any chair: back, seat and legs. The rhythm of the wooden beams gives the chair an organic shape. The cuts are most visible when the chair is still down.”

TO see and learn more, visit Robert’s website


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.