A chair made of carbon tape through the miracle of fiber

A chair made of carbon tape through the miracle of fiber

A composite armchair designed by designer Marleen Kaptein at NLR will be exhibited this week at the international design fair, ‘Salone del Mobile’, in Milan.

View the photos here.

Under the auspices of NLR’s incubator, Kaptein designed a composite armchair. The NLR incubator is a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and companies, a place that aims to support young, start-up companies in the field of composites, in order that they ultimately become well-run companies.

In the ‘Man & Machine’ project at NLR, Kaptein was granted access to the fiber placement machine: a device the NLR uses for automated composite technology. NLR usually uses this machine to produce components for the aviation and aerospace sectors, but now also for a designer to create two types of composite armchairs and bring them to market.

NLR’s Chris Groenendijk, who programmed the fiber placement machine for Kaptein: “In aviation, functionality is paramount, and the look of the design is secondary. An airplane wing for instance must be streamlined. For my colleagues and I, it was fascinating to use composite technologies in a different way; namely, for making as beautiful a chair as possible. Although we perhaps cannot use this for aviation-related purposes, it can however be used for NLR buildings and their interiors.” The result is an armchair made from composites by the NLR’s fibre placement machine; a combination of industrial engineering and the ‘human touch’.

Kaptein is a graduate of the Design Academy in Eindhoven, and from the outset she has used complex manufacturing processes and materials in her designs. Kaptein is affiliated with the Label/Breed design house, which is a new Dutch design brand that creates objects for interiors. What is remarkable about this brand is how a designer and high-tech company are brought together from the initial moment of conception. From this intensive collaboration comes a beautiful object that none of the individuals involved could have successfully devised alone.