The softseating stool is a collapsible form made of white, paper-thin honeycombed polyethylene sheets joined between two white cardboard panels that connect with magnets to form a cylindrical shape. When fanned outward and secured, the polyethylene sheets are sturdy enough to support weight, yet remain comfortable to the user. The stool is portable, lightweight, and recyclable. It not only forms a seat, but multiple stools can be stacked to section interior space. The stool was designed by two Canadians, Todd MacAllen and Stephanie Forsythe, and manufactured by molo design, ltd., an independent design studio based in Vancouver, Canada. Their soft collection is an exploration of materials, fabrication techniques, and structure. The desire for flexible, spontaneous space-making lead the designers to create a family of products that grew out of their softwall and softblock modular partition systems.[1]

A work or living space can be temporarily reinvented using molo’s range of expandable seating, partitions, and lighting to create temporary intimate spaces within large open areas.[2] When not needed, the stools and other elements can be collapsed to reduce the space they take up and once again reveal the larger area. Meant to minimize environmental damage, the stool and other elements in the soft collection also aim to provide flexible solutions for contemporary living, by encouraging users to think about ways they can transform tiny urban spaces into spaces of multiple functions and purpose.

There are three categories that were considered for the sustainable design of soft collection: flexibility, efficient use of material resources, and responsible material choices.[3] The foldable honeycomb structures expand, contract and flex to form sculptural walls, seating topographies and lighting. The sound dampening qualities of the materials and structures can also shape the acoustics within a space. Although not designed as short-term disposable interior fittings, the soft collection elements are 100% recyclable when they have reached the end of their lifetimes.[4]  molo’s soft collection aims to minimize environmental damage, and this flexible solution for contemporary living presents a compelling direction for the future of furniture design.

 

Erin Benedictson is an intern in the Product Design and Decorative Arts department at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

[1] “Tools and Resources”, Molo Trade, retrieved June 16, 2017, http://www.molotrade.com/.

[2] “Tools and Resources”, Molo Trade, retrieved June 16, 2017, http://www.molotrade.com/.

[3] “molo’s soft collection: flexible design for sustainable living,” Molo Trade, retrieved June 19, 2017, http://www.molotrade.com/sustainability.

[4] “molo’s soft collection: flexible design for sustainable living,” Molo Trade, retrieved June 19, 2017, http://www.molotrade.com/sustainability.

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