Wooden furniture is gorgeous and timeless. Being hard, flat and rigid, though, wooden chairs rarely make for the most comfortable pieces. Unless they can bend like these crazy Spring Wood chairs.
Created by designer Carolien Laro, the seating chattels are really made from wood and they will really flex when you sit on them. It's fascinating. Oh yeah, they're quite laborious too -- she put in over 600 hours of work to come up with the original functional prototype for the chairs, which she built by hand.
As much as I'd like to say voodoo magic was employed in making the wooden material flexible, it wasn't. Instead, the Spring Wood's seating top bends down because slits have been cut onto it. A total of 480 steps are involved in the multiple CNC-milled cuts that have been made on each chair, which forces the erstwhile weight-resistant block to conform to your seated behind.
So far, Carolien has designed four different chairs sporting pliable seats in the collection. Aside from the original single-piece stool with wheels, she has a model with folded steel legs, another where the seat top is separate from the legs and a three-seater bench.
The Spring Wood chairs have won Carolien the Wood Challenge Prize, as well as nominations for an IMI Award and a DOEN Material Prize. These aren't currently in stores, but they sure look like they could be ready for primetime. I do wonder if they're really much more comfortable than regular rigid wooden stools, though.