[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Lapella chair by Zaha Hadid Architects is a contemporary recreation of the CHO7 Lounge chair by Danish designer Hans J Wegner. This reinterpration of the iconic chair from 60’s is made from palissandro stone and carbon fibre composites in contrast to the original laminated wood and upholstered fabric. The Lapella chair was conceived for the Stereotomy 2.0 and Digital Construction Tools event arranged by NYIT School of Architecture and Design in New York earlier in April.
Lapella Chair continues our investigations in structure and fabrication-aware tectonics by reinterpreting the iconic 1963 lounge chair by Hans J. Wegner. We retain the proportions, scale, and recline from the Danish design whilst deploying contemporary stone tooling and carbon fibre composites. Forged using precision CNC milling and the application of tailored textiles, it renders visible its own making and the forces that flow through its thin-shell skin. Lapella continues our mission to develop design tools that generate geometry expressive of light-weight material utilisation and structural performance.
This tectonic approach casts the design of furniture within an architectural perspective – furniture becomes a precursor and human scale test-bed to the full scale deployment of novel material and manufacturing technology at architectural scale. The design employs contemporary, state-of-the-art algorithmic extensions to historic design techniques usually found in stone masonry of yesteryear. These stereotomic design techniques recuperate from history, the utilisation of curvature to elegantly transfer weight and forces to ground along with organising the layout of material in relation to such force-flows. The thin, carbon fibre reinforced stone pieces are arranged to visually accentuate these formative logics of material and force.
The original design was envisaged in steam-bent plywood. We revisit the Wegner chair in Polished Palissandro marble procured from Italy. 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.
Lapella: Masterpiece at the Stereotomy 2.0 and Digital Construction Tools event in NYC
The “Stereotomy 2.0 and Digital Construction Tools” event , organized by New York Institute for Technology’s School of Architecture and Design(SoAD), was held at Par Excellence, New York from April 16th to April 29th, 2018. The aim of the event was to disseminate theoretical and practical culture related to stereotomic architecture, from its sixteenth-century origins to the latest design applications. Interest around Stereotomy started to reawaken in the early 1990s, within the researches about the history of construction.
This new, favourable cultural climate has allowed a rediscovery of the discipline, both for its historical value and the unexpressed design possibilities. The diffusion of parametric modelling and digital fabrication tools creates the ideal conditions to design and build new stereotomic prototypes, which are typically characterised by considerable architectural and geometric complexity. Stereotomy today is no longer a historical discipline relegated to the past; it has returned to being the subject of study in several research centres across the world.
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects Design: Patrik Schumacher