At last year’s 100%Design in London the British label formtank presented the ’2d3d Group’ – a collection of tables whose bases are made of cleverly folded sheet metal. Recently George Rice, designer of formtank, came up with his new edition ‘4foldlow’ – a coffee table which builds on the success of this efficient and sustainable technique.
Here is what the designer explains:
“4foldlow, like the entire 2d3d Group of tables to which it belongs, has been reverse designed from the standard size of sheet steel in order to optimises yield and minimise waste.
Sheet steel is cut using laser technology and then hand folded by engineers in a process that can trace its roots to the Japanese art of origami.
Bending back the steel structure in your minds eye reveals the 2 dimensional pattern and the secret of the design innovation. The horizontal and vertical components provide strength and rigidity in this delightful marriage of creativity and logic.”
“Environmental Design is on everyone’s agenda and Formtank is looking towards a more sustainable approach to manufacturing. With this in mind the 2d3d Group attempts to produce “more from less” through a simple proposition; utilise a single sheet of steel in the most efficient way.
The reverse design approach yields 8 tables from one standard sheet of steel and limits waste to just 3.5% overall. Moreover the intricate forms creates the illusion of there being more material than there actually is, conversely the steel sub-structure represents just one quarter of total mass.”
Rooted in triangles: the 2d3d development
The development of 4foldlow has been long and extensive, requiring complex mathematics and precision engineering. The outcome is visually complex, while on closer inspection the structure begins to reveal itself.
“The outcome is totally unique and the glass top acts like a picture frame bringing the whole piece together” remarks George Rice, the designer of 4foldlow. “I’m delighted with the result, it never fails to stop people in their tracks while they scratch their heads a little!”
4foldlow is available direct from Formtank from August 2009.