Whatever you personally think of flat pack furniture, it appeals to many people. Thanks to a combination of availability and affordability, it's become insanely popular for those who don't want to spend a fortune on unique pieces for their home. It's these unique pieces we tend to cover here at Gizmag, and the Stratflex Collection from Wintec Innovation offers a form of flat pack furniture that is anything but banal.
Wintec Innovation is a family-run South African company that lists "sustainable, functional, cost-effective and aesthetic" as the four tenets of the products it seeks to create. The Stratflex Collection appears at first glance to tick all those boxes. There are just two products in the Stratflex range at the time of writing, with Skin being the name of an armchair (with single, 2-seat, and 3-seat options), and Impi being the name of a simple all-purpose chair.
Impi is made from imported Finnish plywood. The Skin has a frame made from Saligna, a hardwood indigenous to South Africa, while the flexible elements are again made from plywood. As plywood isn't known for its innate flexibility, this is where Stratflex comes into the equation.
Stratflex is a patented technology that sees a flexible polymer injected into ridges scored in the plywood. This polymer allows the wood to bend and flex as needed, allowing it to be shipped flat and then shaped across and around the frame when in situ. The result is a finished product that looks modern and stylish, and the company claims the Stratflex layer easily conforms to the particular needs of each individual user, aiding comfort.
The company won the Innovation Award for the Stratflex technology at the 2013 Design Indaba Expo. The price of Skin starts at 8000 ZAR (US$860), with Impi starting at 1700 ZAR ($180).