Siipi chair An investigation into the application of laminated bending veneer technique in furniture design for museum

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master’s Programme in Interior Architecture
In today’s rapidly evolving society, where trends often dictate the fleeting relevance of various phenomena, it is crucial to not only discover new materials and resources but also to delve deeper into the properties of existing materials, uncovering novel possibilities and applications. By thoroughly investigating the materiality and processes of these resources, we can reveal overlooked characteristics and inherent qualities. In this context, wood stands out as a primeval material that has coexisted with humans for millennia, consistently demonstrating its versatility and untapped potential. In light of this, the present thesis conducts an in-depth investigation of a distinct type of wood—veneer—exploring its unique materiality that may not be readily apparent. By integrating the veneer with the ‘Molded Laminated Bending Technique,’ this research focuses on designing chairs for indoor spaces, primarily modern art museums. Utilizing CNC-Milling for mold fabrication and incorporating it into seat design, the study examines the behavior of bending veneer under various conditions and environmental factors. Throughout this process, the veneer’s bending capabilities are rigorously tested, revealing a multitude of material properties and potential applications in design. This research aims to establish a comprehensive understanding of wood bending techniques applicable to various tree species, ranging from solid wood to veneer. By examining the works of renowned designers such as Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Arne Jacobsen, and Eames, the study identifies key bending veneer furniture pieces they have created. In doing so, the investigation seeks to elucidate how the advantageous properties of bending veneer have been employed in furniture design, particularly in chairs. Furthermore, the research delves into not only structural considerations but also the architectural and sculptural aspects of bending veneer chairs, exploring how their unique aesthetics have been influenced by the social phenomena of their respective eras. This study further probes the potential for symbiosis between veneer and alternative materials, while concurrently, the research exhibits the physical attributes and innate allure of veneer by expressing it in a contemporary design vernacular through the fabrication of chairs. The study examines how these chairs engage with and enhance their encompassing environments. The project comprises a total of three distinct chair designs: single chairs with veneer seats of varying thicknesses, a design that integrates a linkable system, and a beam-type bench. As prototypes, these chairs offer a range of design modifications and effectively showcase their potential as versatile indoor public seating options.
Relander, Martin
Thesis advisor
Naamanka, Samuli
Ristimäki, Mikko
laminated bending veneer technique, indoor public chair, birch veneer, museum chair, chair design, laminated wood, transition space, steel tubular structure
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