Niko Kapa, Architect, Industrial Designer and Researcher, Studio Niko Kapa
When you bend a strip of plywood you get an elastic curve. What geometry does this curve Flip-flop designed by Studio Niko Kapa follow?
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The main structural elements are strips of plywood that fold in a specific and supplementary manner, in line with proportions of the human body so as to establish the dimensions of the chair. Flexibility and transformation are the fundamental ideas behind this design. The design allows the chair to migrate between different settings and respond to moods and needs of the user, since it can be transformed just by flipping it. This results to 2 different seating postures and designs as per the user’s needs. Besides the alteration, this gives the product a visual consolidation, emphasizing the reduction of materials and unification of forms. Structural stability is attained by the overlapping plywood strips that curve into one another and are glued on connection points. The curve segments are combined together taking into account physically satisfying posture as well as ergonomics. These provide the necessary flexibility that thin layers of plywood offer as a construction material, together with the cushions attached to them.
Cushions are designed to act as an extension of the chair’s main framing, having as a basic principle the minimum use of material and minimum number of construction elements. The manufacturing process used for the plywood is steam bending – a low energy, low waste process using no toxic glues, just water. The process of steaming the wood also seasons it at the same as it is bent, using a fraction of the energy required in conventional kiln drying. Besides the natural beech wood finish, two colored types for the wooden parts are proposed: black & white.