advertisement
advertisement

The Bouroullecs’ Beautiful New Chair Packs Flat, Is Made From Solar Power

For their latest venture, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec partner with a tiny, family-owned Italian furniture company that’s just like “an organic farm.”

The Bouroullecs’ Beautiful New Chair Packs Flat, Is Made From Solar Power
advertisement
advertisement

For all the talk about eco-friendly furniture — about domestic-wood tables and Greenguard-certified shelving and guiltless hemp stacking chairs — the industry’s still got a dirty little secret: Manufacturing is a big fat drain on the environment. Think how much energy goes into dispatching a chair down the assembly line. Who cares if the upholstery is 100%-certified organic?

advertisement
advertisement

Osso, the latest chair from French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, shows another, greener way. Dreamed up for the tiny, family-run Italian manufacturer Mattiazzi, the chair is made entirely out of wood sourced from the surrounding region, then sliced into deceptively simple shapes using solar-powered CNC-milling equipment. In the brothers’ telling, collaborating with Mattiazzi is comparable to “work with an organic farm.”

advertisement
advertisement

Some context: CNC milling is the new hotness in modern furniture nowadays, because it lets designers experiment with complex forms that’d be tough to pull off using standard manufacturing and too expensive to carve manually. But CNC tools are machines, like any other, and they take a toll on the environment.

advertisement

Here, the Bouroullec brothers managed to exploit CNC technology to create fresh, complicated shapes, without the attendant carbon footprint. Note, in the image above, the ultra-smooth surface of the seat and the connectors cut into the legs that make the chair fit together like a puzzle. Those details, which give the chair a lovely, quiet elegance, wouldn’t be possible without CNC milling. They’re also a monument to efficiency in their own right. With a built-in attachment mechanism, the chair doesn’t need additional hardware to stay in one piece, which means it consumes fewer materials overall — more good news for the earth.

advertisement

[Images courtesy of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec; hat tip to Daily Tonic]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D

More