Bright, colorful, flexible, buoyant, and life-saving. These are the words that are often used to describe pool noodles, sometimes called waterlogs or even water woggles. These floating foam tubes allow kids and adults alike to engage in playful banter in the pool while still remaining safe, though they’re also finding use outside of the water. Their flexible bodies and soft material make the perfect objects for safe play, but they’ve amusingly also become the foundations of designs completely unrelated to their original use. Take this experimental set of furniture that employs these vibrant tubes to deliver that same whimsical atmosphere to chairs, tables, and everything in between.
Designer: Lieyah Dagan
They may come by any other name, but pool noodles are a popular component in many fanciful designs, from playground obstacle courses to car covers. Their ubiquity, affordability, and flexibility make it easy to shape them into different objects, combining them to form a more complex composition of rods, circles, and arcs. What pool noodles aren’t known for is stability and rigidity, properties that are almost antithetical to the very essence of these foamy objects. And yet that’s exactly what this furniture is presenting, mixing contrasting elements to give the designs a distinct, lively character.
The first step in producing the Looped line of indoor and outdoor furniture was to actually break chairs, tables, and other furniture down to their frames, revealing the structure that ultimately gives them form. The pool noodles are then used to “flesh out” the actual shape of the furniture, giving them mass that would be needed to support their newfound purpose as utilitarian objects. Once the final designs have been selected, dowels and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) are added to provide the needed support to make the furniture become more stable and reliable.
Of course, it wouldn’t be fun if the pool noodles simply followed the same shape as the original furniture. Looped embodies not just the characteristics but also the spirit of these playful waterlogs, employing plenty of curves, loops, and over-the-top proportions that make the furniture almost feel like toys. That, for better or worse, is both the strength and the flaw of the design.
Loop has an undeniable pull that makes people want to play with it, whether it’s because of the bright colors, the soft material, or familiarity with pool noodles. That’s fine with soft toys like actual pool noodles, but playing with a chair or a table brings risks of accidents and injuries. In the end, it creates a perception of playful engagement when they’re also supposed to be designed for serious use, creating a conflict in the mind of the viewer that is both enthralling but also a bit confusing.