In 2011 Berlin-based designer Wener Aisslinger introduced the public to the world’s first concept for a monobloc chair made of natural fibers – the *hemp chair*. The project was supported by the German chemical company BASF, and was designed through a lightweight manufacturing process borrowed from the car industry.
Using renewable materials such as hemp and kenaf, the chair is compressed with a water-based thermoset binder to form an eco-friendly, lightweight and yet strong composite.
Design history is driven by new technologies and material innovation. For us designers, the advent of these technologies has always been the starting point for new objects and typologies in design.
The *hemp chair* was designed to follow the tradition of monobloc stackable chairs. However, while stackable chairs are usually made of reinforced plastics, the *hemp chair* reinvents the concept using renewable materials.
Shaping a complete chair structure from a thin layer of material is one of the most challenging ways to design and engineer a chair. The *hemp-chair*, with its soft curves and its bead structure, embodies a new approach to this complex type of chair.
The chair used more than 70% natural fibers in combination with BASF’s water acrylic resin Acrodur. Unlike most reactive resins, this method does not release any harmful organic substances such as phenol or formaldehyde during the process.
The *hemp chair* establishes itself in the industry as an innovative product, pushing the boundaries on sustainable design.
Project: *hemp chair*
Deigner: Werner Aisslinger
Materials: hemp, kenaf (Malvaceae), water-based thermoset binder Acrodur®
Photo: Michel Bonvin
*All images and information courtesy of Studio Aisslinger.