FlexibleLove - the extraordinary expanding chair
By Jude Garvey
February 17, 2010
It’s a little embarrassing when a crowd of friends descend on your doorstep and you don’t have enough chairs to seat them all. However, if you have a FlexibleLove chair - you won’t have anything to worry about. This fabulously functional chair = is constructed almost entirely from recycled cardboard and recycled wood waste and can expand to hold up to16 people! Read on, you’ll be amazed at what this single piece of furniture can do…
At first glance, the design of the FlexibleLove chair seems quite simple, but once you see how quickly and easily it can be expanded and contracted, you really appreciate the complexity of its design. The unique qualities of its accordion and honeycomb structure allow it to be stretched and folded into a multitude of shapes and lengths - creating surprisingly strong seating. To change its length and shape, you simply pull each end – much like playing an accordion. For a chair that offers this much flexibility and adaptability, it’s hard to believe it is made almost entirely of recycled cardboard.
How does cardboard manage to hold the weight of up to 16 people? Their body weight is divided evenly between the hundreds of cells contained in the chair. And, although it is strong enough to support the weight of all those people, it won’t support unbalanced weights so don’t let the kids jump or walk on it and obviously don’t use it outside or near fire!
The FlexibleLove was designed by Chise Chiu, a young designer from Taiwan. He discovered a factory in suburban Taipei that made honeycomb-structured pieces of recycled paper. This gave him the idea that the qualities of rigid honeycomb-structured cardboard could be used to create flexible furniture. His name, ‘FlexibleLove', was derived from the concept of a ‘flexible love-seat’ – that is, seating that can hold up to sixteen people simply by altering its shape and length. Each of his pieces is constructed using the same honeycomb structure, to allow for quick and easy extension and collapse.
When the FlexibleLove chair is first used, about two millimeters (about 1/10th of an inch) will bend, but these marks across the surface will eventually level off, leaving a velvet-like appearance. It is also recommended that the chair be folded regularly to minimize the signs of use, and moistening the surface slightly before folding will also help to achieve a better look.
As the name suggests, the FlexibleLove model 8 can accommodate up to eight people. When folded it measures 25 x 21.8 x 5.1 inches and it stretches to 25 x 21.8 x 140.4 inches. It can support weight up to 2116.44 pounds (averaging out at about 264 pounds per person) and weighs 28.66 pounds.
The FlexibleLove model 16 will seat up to 16 people and when folded measures 25 x 21.8 x 8.8 inches. Weighing 55.12 pounds, it can be stretched to a length of 280.8 inches and will support body weight of up to 4232.87 pounds.
Currently available for sale in the U.K from FlexibleLove UK the model 8 is priced at GBP220 (approx. US$347 at time of publication) and the model 16 is priced at GBP390 (approx. US$615 at time of publication). Not a bad price for eco-friendly, strong pieces of furniture that offer adaptable, flexible seating.