written by:
September 8, 2014
The story of modern furniture design can't be separated from material technology. Ever since Charles and Ray Eames discovered a molding process to create curvaceous pieces of plywood, innovations and new materials have inspired designers to give form to previously impossible shapes. Click through the slideshow for some of the latest innovations that have caught our eye, from sleek chairs made from wool to lamps hewn from lava rocks.
Hypetex Halo Chair made from a new carbon fiber process

Hypetex Halo Chair

Utilizing a new carbon fiber process developed over several years by Formula 1 engineers, the Hypetex Halo chair by Michael Sodeau cuts an aerodynamic profile. Premiering at designjunction at the London Design Festival this year, these lounge chairs hint at the potential of such a flexible material. 

Courtesy of 
Hypetext
1 / 8
Solidwool Chair made of solid-formed wool

Solidwool Chair

Think of it as fibreglass from fleece, specifically those on the backs of sheep in the English countryside. Solidwool, developed by Devon designer Justin Floyd, turns the course material from one-and-a-half sheep into a smooth seat with untapped design potential.

 

 

Courtesy of 
Solidwool
2 / 8
Cocoboard

Coconut Composite Board

Visiting professors Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong and Devan Simumovich initially thought they would be spending time during their stay in Bangkok getting a coconut ice cream business off the ground. But after seeing the massive amounts of plant waste generated by curries and coconut water, they hit on the idea of creating composite boards out of the organic material, plywood-like pieces they would would emboss with laser-cut steel templates.

"It’s a lowbrow material here,"says Wong. "Nobody is interested in having cocoboard in their home. But, if we can create a way for people who throw out coconuts in Bangkok to instead drop them off in a recycle center, [maybe we can] create a micro economy for waste coconuts."

Courtesy of 
Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong
3 / 8
Formafantasma Clocks made from lava

Studio Formafantasma's lava clocks

An experiment in geometric, occasionally brutal, forms, the "De Natura Fossilium" show, which appeared at London's Gallery Libby Sellers earlier this year, explored the possiblities of working with lava from the Mount Etna and Stromboli regions of Sicily. One of nature's orignal raw materials, the stone was turned into tables, clocks, and pure black glass. 

Courtesy of 
Luisa Zanzani
4 / 8
Elegant cantilevered concrete bench

Strata Bench for Landscape Forms

It's hard to believe this sleek bench was fashioned from concrete. But according to designer Jess Sorel, a proprietary material blend and new molding technique gave him the freedom to play with the material. "I wanted to take the perceptions about what [concrete] should be and counter that," he said. "I wanted to create something with a visual edge and have it float like a cantilever. How do we push concrete so it's not a brutalist chunk of material, but instead something elegant?"

Courtesy of 
Strata
5 / 8
EcoVet Table made from decommissioned truck trailers

EcoVet Furniture

Not only does this Arkansas-based company employ military vets, but the company sources road-tested raw material from decommissioned truck trailers once used by Walmart or Sam's Club. A chair might utilize the leather from the driver's cab as well as steel from the trailer's frame. The only furniture that could hold more feel-good stories is a library shelf.

Courtesy of 
EcoVet
6 / 8
Aluminum foam cabinets

Metallic Geology

Created by injecting gas into molten metal, aluminum foam was utilized by London's Studio Swine to make a series of cloud-like cabinets. It's an interesting repurposing of a material that mostly has industrial applications, such as insulation.

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Coiled Stool made of kevlar, carbon fiber, and resin

Coiled Stool

Designer Jonathan Muecke created these stools late last year utilizing an atypical mixture of Kevlar, carbon fiber, and resin. Looking somewhat like a traditional wicker at first glance, the piece plays with textile tubes to create a unique look.

Courtesy of 
Volume Gallery
8 / 8
Hypetex Halo Chair made from a new carbon fiber process

Hypetex Halo Chair

Utilizing a new carbon fiber process developed over several years by Formula 1 engineers, the Hypetex Halo chair by Michael Sodeau cuts an aerodynamic profile. Premiering at designjunction at the London Design Festival this year, these lounge chairs hint at the potential of such a flexible material. 

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