Published on : Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Carlo Ratti Associati has used digital processes to create the Swish stool – a collapsible wooden stool that can be adjusted into different predetermined shapes. It was shown at Cassina’s 90th anniversarty exhibition, at the Milan Design Week 2017.
The architecture office, led by the Italian architect and MIT professor Carlo Ratti, used a design approach called “implicit programming”where the team uses digital design and fabrication methods to tailor an object so it can take different preset forms.
In the case of the Swish stool, this is enabled through an elaborate system of individually designed joints and hinges that allow the stool to snap into its various positions. The 27 rounded wood elements of the chair can sit in a flat, comb-like shape against the wall, and then be flipped around to form a seat with various leg configurations.
Carlo Ratti Associati describe the Swish stool as a kind of “programmable wood”.
Ratti said, “Swish has been the culmination of a very exciting research path for us,” said Ratti. “We started working on self-assembly and implicit programming – the possibility for an object to assume predetermined, kinetic configurations – a few years ago. How can we use mathematically controlled geometry to ‘teach’ a given material how to behave? Swish is the first implementation of such a principle to a very basic piece of furniture: a stool.”