The Polish design studio uses innovative technology to deform metal and to make exceptional products out of it — from mirrors to chairs and tables. Created by artist, designer, and process engineer Oskar Zięta, they celebrated their first decade last year with the launch of the ULTRALEGGERA chair.
— The process of creating it took several years, he says. First, we created a prototype, which we then optimized to increase the desirable lightness and strength. We were subtracting subsequent kilos and later dealt with the subtraction of grams in the last stages. I would compare this tedious process of minimizing the weight of a chair to less than 2 kg to a 100-meter run in which every second less to the finish line is charged with titanic work. The final design is, therefore, the result of material and technological optimization, as well as strength tests — first virtually simulated, and then carried out in the real world.
— You can say that every radius and every perforation of the chair are optimized for lightness and strength. This product manifests the idea of the primacy of construction quality over the form, and Ponti’s Superleggera chair was an inspiration to focus on the issue of lightness in design. The lightweight index parameter is widely used in the aviation and automotive industries, which is dictated both by energy consumption, but also due to the need for economic transport of structural elements. In the world of design, this is not equally important, and we want to show that it is vital in a world overloaded with objects and data.
The weight is 1.66 kilograms. More than a kilogram heavier than Massimiliano Della Monaca’s Estrema chair (0.617 kilograms and officially the world’s lightest chair, but made of carbon fibre and not sustainable), but still extremely light. The secret behind a chair so light and stable, Marketing Manager Magdalena Zięba-Grodzka shares, is a special technology called FiDU, invented and constantly developed by Oskar Zięta.
— It allows us to create thin-walled and at the same time firm bionic objects. They’re inspired by the forms taken from nature such as the delicate but extremely strong wings of dragonflies, durable chitinous shells of beetles, or light and stable pneumatic bird skeletons.
— We’ve used highly developed aluminum alloys, which are characterized by outstanding strength and processing parameters. The precisely laser-cut and tightly welded contours are deformed by internal force under controlled conditions to achieve optimal three-dimensional forms. Then they are welded together. The chair is therefore 100% made of only one material. Due to the slight undulations of the material surface, the deformation process creates a three-dimensional stable bionic structure that is surprisingly durable. And, if it was possible to create an even lighter chair, we would do it!
Recently, ULTRALEGGERA was awarded the MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award 2020 Best of Award in the Product Category, for its mono-material features that make it an eco-friendly product of the future: the world’s lightest chair with a timeless minimalist form.