Bent wooden stool requires no screws or hinges to assemble from flat packaging

Flat-packed furniture has become quite the sensation, satisfying both the need for easy-to-assemble mass-produced products as well as a craving for the trendy minimalist design. There are, however, certain limits to those designs, especially because of the need to be flat and tightly packed. Putting them together also sometimes requires a bit of patience and know-how, particularly when small parts and screws are involved. This stool concept design challenges those conventions, however, by using mechanisms that require no extra parts, no screws, and even no glue, yet still delivers a multifunctional piece of furniture that looks unique and distinctive, unlike most mass-produced flat-packed products.

Designer: Joao Teixeira

The easiest method to join two separate pieces after they have left the factory would be to either screw or glue them together. The former entails more complicated parts while the other often employs chemicals harmful to the environment. There are, however, techniques that simply use shapes and the force of physics, particularly gravity, to keep two parts together. The dovetail joint, which looks like two puzzle pieces getting wedged together, is one such mechanism, and it is the technique employed by this Flat Stool design.

That in itself is already impressive, but the stool’s real claim to fame is how its sides can curve and bend despite being flat-packed. You’d usually have to resort to tricks like hinges, which you have to screw, to change a wooden plank’s direction, but the Flat Stool uses a rather unconventional design to do the same. Specifically, it uses kerf bending on those bent areas to create a gentle curve that makes it look like the piece was shipped that way right from the start.

The effect is a stool whose sides bend down and inward, attaching to the middle of the slanted legs that also have a kerf bend to them. This creates a loop on both sides, an empty space that can serve as a holding space for books, phones, or other objects that don’t need a flat, horizontal surface to lie on. As a bonus, the kerfs and ribs of the stool are exposed and visible for everyone to see, creating visual accents that make the stool look more interesting.

Admittedly, some might have concerns about how long the dovetail joints will hold over time as the wooden contacts between the joints wear down. The kerfs might also look a bit worrying, especially on the legs, given the decrease in the mass of the wooden boards. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting concept that tries to think outside the flat-packed box to provide a design that isn’t as flat, literally and figuratively.