In a project in New York City, architects and designers applied Stereotomy principles to create modern furniture with natural stone
It is a worldwide known classic, the „Shell Chair” by Danish designer Hans J. Wegner from 1963 in steam-bent plywood. In April this year, aversion of this design icon done in stone was presented in New York City. It had been created in cooperation of Zaha Hadid CoDe with the New Fundamamentals Research Group, namely Bari Politecnico’s Giuseppe Fallacara and Maurizio Barberio, AKT II p.art and Generelli SA.
„Lapella“ was the name they had given to the new chair (misunderstanding the Italien Word „La pelle“ for „skin“).
The design principle of this design re-interpretation meanwhile has been protected by European Patent EP3156221A1 under the title „Method of Production of Objects in Stone and Composite Material”.
With the same patent Giuseppe Fallacara designed the first bench in 2016 using the Perlato di Sicilia Stone in combination with carbon fiber (Möbius chair and sofa, see link below).
In Lapella, the material is thin Italian Palissandro marble. The shapes were cut by precision CNC milling machines from a single block. A carbon-fiber composite as porter gives the construction the needed strength that it can be used as furniture.
„The patented process of manufacture harnesses the compressive properties of stone and the tensile properties of carbon fibre to achieve unparalleled thinness, lightness, and structural performance. In this perspective, AKT II provided material testes and structural analysis of the chair, while New Fundamentals Research Group supported the fabrication process made by Generelli SA,” as said in a description.
The chair will be exhibited in theZHA gallery in the high-line ZHA building in NYC, at the end of the month.
Design: Zaha Hadid Architects, Patrik Schumacher with ZH CoDe (Shajay Bhooshan, Vishu Bhooshan, Henry David Louth, Marko Margeta, Taole Chen)
Engineering: AKT II p.art (Edoardo Tibuzzi, Lorenzo Greco)
Fabrication: Generelli SA (Matteo Generelli), New Fundamentals Research Group (Giuseppe Fallacara, Maurizio Barberio)
Dimensions: 91 cm W x 84 cm D x 74 cm H
Material: Palissandro Classico Marble; polished
Finish: Italian marble with a cream colour and delicate hazel stripes; slightly pearlescent, Variable thickness 8-12mm using CNC manufacture, Carbon Fibre Roll: Woven Black Finish, 5 Layers – 1mm total thickness
European Patent EP3156221A1 „Method of Production of Objects in Stone and Composite Material”
„Stereotomy 2.0 and Digital Construction Tools”
The chair was the highlight of the project „Stereotomy 2.0 and Digital Construction Tools” held in New York City at the Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture and Design (SoAD) from April 16th to April 29th, 2018. The aim of the event, comprising theoretical lectures, practical works, and an exhibition, was to disseminate knowledge in Stereotomy, from its sixteenth-century origins to the latest applications in architecture and design.
Here, Stereotomic techniques were applied to today’s world of furniture. Newest CNC machinery and 3D modeling tools allowed the creation of a complex shape based on ergonomic data.
Within the project, various activities had been held in many locations in New York City: a workshop and an exhibition of students’ works, followed by a symposium with international academics and professional speakers, and finally, an exhibition of the prototypes held in the Par Excellence gallery.
„Lapella” chair was one of them.
The project, conceived by Giuseppe Fallacara, supported and promoted by Maria Perbellini, Dean of SoAD NYIT, and edited by G. Fallacara and Christian Pongratz (Interim Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Study and Education, NYIT), was arealized in collaboration with the New York Institute of Technology, New Fundamentals Research Group, Zaha Hadid CoDe and p.art from AKT II.
Photos: Guiseppe Fallacara
Detailed technical description: „To enable the parallel study of multiple loading configurations on an evolving design, structural analysis was delivered using AKT II’s in-house parametric interoperability solution, Re.AKT. The analysis, and feedback with the stone fabricators Generelli SA, informed and incrementally improved design parameters to address stone tolerances, curvature thresholds, and mass distribution. At the same time, the design was modified via dynamic relaxation to minimize effects of bending within the form itself. The resulting optimized form demonstrates the thinnest and lightest structure capable under the given constraints.
„The vaulted undercarriage performs in full compression, while neighboring parts exhibit more varied degrees of tension and compression. This gradation of stress and strain internal to the parts is articulated through varied thicknesses of the stone and informed the face selection for application of tensioning carbon fibers.
„Destructive testing was commissioned and performed by The University of Westminster to understand the compressive, tensile and out-of-plane behavior of the composited stone and carbon-fiber layers. Non-linear, discrete element analysis (DEA) models were generated and calibrated from the results using specialist software (Itasca 3DEC). This process captures the behavior of the natural stone faster and more accurately than traditional methods, and is also an interesting example of design influenced by a close collaboration between architects, structural engineers, and fabricators.”
(26.06.2018, USA: 06.26.2018)