Kartell’s Honeycomb Folding Chair

While we all enjoyed our full two-week gloss of the art/design extravaganza that is Design Miami, as the sage once said-and as the once insurmountable New England Patriots now know only too well-all good things must end. But if I may be permitted a sort of geographical segue…

Honeycomb Folding Chair. Designed by Alberto Meda. Manufactured by Kartell.

As the more adventurous of Design Miami attendees may have discovered, a mere stone’s throw from the temporary exhibition structure (and smack dab in the middle of the city’s Design District) resides Kartell Miami-retail outlet and distribution facility of the famed manufacturer whose Italian-lineage encompasses a half century of innovative product design and manufacture, as well as collaborations with some shining stars of the industry including Ron Arad, Philippe Starck, Patricia Urquiola, Tokujin Yoshioka, Patrick Jouin, and Alberto Meda.

Mr. Meda is the creator of the focus of this posting, Kartell’s Honeycomb Folding Chair, a product that nicely fits within Meda’s career trajectory and evolution from materials engineer to product designer. Known throughout the 80s for his work with carbon fibers and epoxy resins, which resulted in the ultra-strong, ultra-light (and evocatively named) Lightlight Chair, Meda has apparently decided to follow the sage advice of Walter Brooke’s Mr. McGuire from 1967’s The Graduate: “There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it? Will you think about it?” The choice is apropos given that Kartell was established in 1949 with the stated objectives of “introducing plastics to the home” and “adopting an innovative approach to engineer its articles based on technological research and design.” The quest for design that incorporates advances in materials engineering is manifest in Meda’s new chair, which uses honeycomb technology to shape its transparent plastic backrest and seat into a form that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but light and durable to boot.

Kartell’s Honeycomb Folding Chair

Image detail (left), courtesy of spotd.it.

You all remember the vaunted honeycomb, yes? Familiar to readers of 3rings through such products as Rassadin’s Beehouse Lamp, Sing Homes’ Honeycomb Panels, and Bencore’s Composite Wall Panels, the impressive structural qualities of the “geometry of bees” is garnering much attention among engineers and designers of late. And it doesn’t hurt that the shape is intrinsically appealing. The six-sided honeycomb offers a fluid connectivity and an innate knack for moving light in enticing ways. This feature is apparent in both the Beehouse Lamp and Bencore’s Panels, and even more so in the honeycombed apertures of Meda’s Chair, which “magically reflect the light.” You can take advantage of such prismatic effects by showing this indoor/outdoor chair the light of day, or by exposing it to the artfully manufactured lighting schemes of interior spaces. A worthy addition to the growing pantheon of honeycomb-influenced products-and a must for elegant and eminently portable seating-Kartell’s Honeycomb Folding Chair should definitely go on your holiday wish list.

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