World’s lightest chair ‘inspired by insect shells’ wins prestigious Red Dot design award
A chair inspired by insect shells and weighing just 1.66 kilograms has received a prestigious Red Dot design award.
Created by Zieta Design Studio in Wrocław and able to hold 1,200 kilograms, the chair was inspired by Gio Ponti’s 1957 creation, the Superleggera, which weighed 1.70 kilograms.
Oskar Zięta, head of the Zieta Design Studio said: “The chair is made of aluminium using FiDU technology (Freie Innen Druck Umformung).
“It is a key technology in creating the chair structure, it uses air to force the metal to expand and deform in accordance with its natural properties.
“The specially designed forms are cut and welded before being blown with compressed air. The chair weighs 1.66 kilograms and is eco-friendly.
“It is fully recyclable as it is made of only aluminium and eco-friendly rubber on the feet of the chair.”
FiDU could be translated into English as ‘free internal pressure moulding’, a technique Zięta first used in 2008 when he created his ‘Plopp’ stool.
“The metallic tripods look like partially inflated balloons and while never intended as art they are now displayed in museums around the world and the seat was recognised by both the Red Dot Design Award in 2008 and the Forum AID Award in 2009.
The Polish design known as the Ultraleggera in homage to its Italian inspiration comes in anodic natura, anodic black, matt white or raw aluminium. The chair is 78 cm high, 49 cm wide and the seat is 58 cm deep.
Zięta said: “The Ultraleggera’s design was inspired by the light and load-resistant shells of insects – it is naturally adapted to the course of the force arrows and in this respect is optimized.
“This is an enormous advantage of forms adapted and optimized for loads over structures based on standard profiles, the cross-section of which is the same from top to bottom.
“One could compare this construction to a tree that adjusts its cross-sections to the existing loads and never has the same constant cross-sections anywhere.
“It is thanks to the FiDU technology that we can create such structurally and weight-optimized products. The Ultraleggera chair is the best example of this, a manifesto.”
The design process began in earnest in 2019 with the chair picking up awards in 2020 but due to Coronavirus restrictions the presentation of the functional art work was delayed.
Despite coming with a hefty price tag of 4,000 PLN or $1,190, the designer says that it is able to withstand the abuse his children throw at it making it a generational chair that will stand the test of time.