Wooden furniture is naturally made from different pieces, and most of the time, those pieces are taken from different pieces of wood. Conventional manufacturing processes try to maximize materials, but those often still produce a lot of wasted wood pieces. Because of this, there has been a great deal of interest in designing products like furniture or even vehicles that use up almost every available inch of a sheet of material, minimizing wasted space and wasted material. Of course, it requires a bit of thinking outside the box to be able to utilize almost every surface of wood, cardboard, or metal and turn it into an actual usable product, like this three-piece furniture set that also applies that unconventional thinking to create a chair designed to lean backward.
Designer: Sheridan Kromann
Flat-pack furniture has become popular with people who want to economize on space or expenses, especially when it comes to shipping and assembly. Almost like those wooden puzzle pieces that require no special tools to form an animal or historic landmark, these ready-to-assemble products try to reduce the stress involved when assembling furniture. Of course, ready-made furniture delivered to your house will still be easier, but flat-packs at least don’t require screws or tools to put together. All you need is the ability to follow instructions.
Many flat-pack furniture also come with an implicit benefit. In most cases, the separate pieces can be cut out from a single sheet of material, often wood or fiberboard, which minimizes the wasted material. At first brush, that almost seems like the key feature of the Leaning Chair set, and it’s definitely an important one. All three members of the set are CNC cut from the same 4×8 piece of plywood, and while there are still areas of the sheet that are unused and probably discarded, it’s still a lot less wasteful than conventionally assembled furniture.
The set features a chair, an ottoman for your feet, and a side table to complete the setting. Like any flat-pack furniture, they can all be assembled without screws or tools. You don’t even need fasteners or glue to keep them together. Of course, some people might actually be wary of this kind of assembled furniture, especially chairs that look a bit unstable on their feet. The Leaning Chair, however, is specifically designed that way to prevent one of the most common accidents with chairs.
Some people try to lean back on their chairs and end up falling backward because typical legs aren’t designed to support that use case. This chair’s base, however, curves and extends backward, almost like a rocking chair, allowing the person to lean back safely and with confidence. Unlike a rocking chair, however, it doesn’t tilt forward, making it stand stably and still when you don’t want to lean back.
Admittedly, flat-pack furniture isn’t exactly the prettiest to look at unless you actually prefer that raw, puzzle-like aesthetic. Unfortunately, that same aesthetic might make people less comfortable and less confident in the stability of the products. Either way, the Leaning Chair furniture concept is yet another interesting example of conventions being stretched and broken to create designs that are not only efficient but also sustainable.