A lounge chair made out of native natural materials

Manufacturing individual items of furniture - cost-efficiently

HL Kunststofftechnik (a company based in Germany’s Saxony-Anhalt) and the Steinbeis Innovation Center Applied Material, Production and Process Technology recently co-designed a new and efficient way to manufacture a fiber composite component made out of native materials. To explore the component properties in use, the team fashioned a lounge chair out of it. The project is part of a research program sponsored by the working group of industrial research associations.

Halle-based mehrwerk designlabor produced a prototype lounge chair designed to be lightweight and adapt to the needs of tomorrow while retaining a premium look and feel. The underlying idea: design 3D objects on right angles. This reduces material waste in production. Weighing just 5 kg, the chair holds up to 120 kg. The secret behind this is the innovative use of “sandwiched” paper honeycomb with bolstering natural fibers. No decorative exteriors are needed as the textile makeup of the reinforcement is an integral component of the material’s design.

The research program stipulated two objectives for the lounge chair. First: use the materials in such a way that people can truly sit back and relax in the chair. Second: develop a production technology that not only makes this possible, but proves cost-efficient and can accommodate existing budgets.

To accomplish this, the team chose a native resin matrix and a native fiber reinforcement. While acting as a bolster and bearing the load, the fibers set and adjust the springs and dampers to makes the seat more comfortable. The experts will also devise out a special design and folding technology that uses the natural fibers sparingly. In fact, the fibers will double as the chair’s “decorative” finish. One way this could work is by using semi-finished textile products in different ways. The research program, however, is primarily interested in investigating how machine finishing (such as milling or grinding) affects the surface. At the same time, the team will look into developing a suitable and economical mode of production.

The lounge chair will play a key role in the development of a technology that makes it feasible to manufacture individual items of
furniture. It will also help usher in a special folding technology that uses as few materials and resources as necessary – and its fabrics will be put to use in both seating and upholstery.


Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Oliver Hecht | Dipl.-Ing. Alexandru Söver |
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lars Frormann

Steinbeis Innovation Center Applied Material, Production and Process Technology (Zwickau)

Dipl.-Ing. Armin Hlady
HL Kunststofftechnik GmbH (Queis)

Dipl.-Designer Stefan Oßwald
mehrwerk designlabor (Halle)

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