Concrete is not something you’d immediately associate with flexibility and comfort, especially as applied to chairs and tables. The material is great for making outdoor furniture that remains rooted in place until they’re damaged beyond use and repair. They often have fixed forms, too, considering they’re not the easiest things to move or change anyway. That, however, means lost opportunity in shattering expectations and pushing the envelope of what you can do with the material. Fortunately, not everyone is easily intimidated by concrete’s rough demeanor, and this modular stool system demonstrates what’s possible when you start playing around with shapes, colors, and materials.
Designers: one J, Jeongjin Ko, Jinsu Du, Keetae Kim (Superkomma)
In its most basic configuration, the CONECTO stool looks like any ordinary cylindrical stool with a colorful top. That, however, is an illusion, given that the seemingly whole concrete base is actually two half cylinders joined at their flat side. You might take for granted how this “half shape” can be used in a modular fashion, but almost like LEGO, they can become the building blocks of larger stools that can accommodate more people at once.
Joining the two halves on their curved side allows a square “cover” to be put on top for a more traditional stool. Putting half a cylinder on one side extends it a bit for a more comfortable arrangement, but adding yet another half on the opposite side creates an oblong bench. If, on the other hand, you put three full cylinders together in a triangular formation, you can have a bench that can accommodate as many as three people.
Part of the CONECTO’s modularity is thanks to the acrylic top that joins different pieces together. This material also provides a striking contrast to the concrete base, creating a visually interesting outdoor furniture design. Where concrete is cold, raw, and rough, the translucent acrylic top is softer, colorful, and alive. The stool, whether alone or with others, provides a mix of brutalism and minimalism that could attract people to look and even sit.
The concept for CONECTO’s design also has sustainability as its goal from the get-go, using high-strength UHPC concrete with no harmful compounds. It the future, it is planned to also make use of recycled waste materials, creating an ecosystem that is not only free in its flexibility but also free from negative effects on the environment.