XXXX_Sofa by Yuya Ushida 19.08.11

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For his graduation project at Design Academy Eindhoven in 2010, Yuya Ushida drew on an earlier calling to make a sofa out of 8,000 bamboo sticks that he cut, drilled holes in and assembled himself. "My background is in mechanical engineering and I am still an engineer, not a designer," he says. Bamboo was the only material he could afford as a student but is too expensive to be used in production: "It would be an art object," Ushida says. So the prototype he showed at this year's Ventura Lambrate in Milan was made out of injection-moulded plastic, and it is this version that Ahrend will bring out in the autumn.

XXXX_Sofa is based on a modular system formed by sticks of four different lengths. The sticks are joined together by 2,000 rings and the sofa can be pulled in and out at the sides like an accordion to fit the available space. "I had a transformable structure in mind ... I like Lego and brick toys," Ushida says. In answer to the question, "How strong is the sofa?" he says, "Strong enough," before adding that the bamboo version can bear up to 210kg and that the plastic version is stronger.

There is also the 600-piece XXXX_Stool, which Ahrend and Ushida plan to produce in both assembled form and as a kit. Ushida thinks assembling the stool will demand the same kind of dedication that building a ship in a bottle does. The designer estimates that it will take five or six hours ("if you really concentrate"), though he can manage it in about one and a half. The stool will be available in black, white or red; the sofa in black or white.

Self-assembly from scratch will not, however, be an option for the sofa. "No one will want to do it," Ushida says. The original bamboo version took him four months to build (though he was working on other projects, too) and Tools Galerie in Paris has just commissioned him to make a limited edition of five more. He is working "as fast as possible" and hopes to be finished by mid-September.

 

Image

Yuya Ushida

 

Words

Fatema Ahmed

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My background is in mechanical engineering and I am still an engineer, not a designer

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