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Flat-Pack Magic: Ten Amazing Folding Chairs

Seven chairs made of single sheets of plastic, cardboard, and foam—and which take just seconds to assemble.

flux chair

Folding, flat-pack chairs make sense in our carbon-conscious age. They require relatively few materials to make, and they're far more fuel-efficient to ship. Here are seven takes on the theme:

The Flux, which debuted this year at a Dutch furniture fair, is easily the best-looking of the lot. Made from a sheet of plastic, it folds up so that you can carry it like an over-sized briefcase:

One classic assignment for student industrial-designers is to make a chair out of cardboard. James Schaffroth, a student at RISD, managed to create this amazing chair/desk that supports 200 pounds:

Eric Ku's Chair/Chair is made of five pieces, which spell out the word:

Eric Ku
Eric Ku

Another carboard chair, by Elias Kulukundis, which was inspired by origami:

Another cardboard chair, but you can buy this one. The unfortunately named Flexible Love Chair sounds like something you'd find at an orgy, but it's nonetheless a miracle of adaptability. The accordioned, honeycomb structure can be fit into almost any shape:

Andrej Blazon's Charity Chair was designed to resemble the hat traditionally worn by an order of charitable nuns. The project is open-source, so anyone can download the plans and make the chair themselves from found materials, thus making it uber-local, and carbon-light:

Andrej Blazon

Sara Paculdo's Flat Chair won't win any beauty pageants, but it's a fascinating experiment. The piece is made just of laser-cut foam; the final shape emphasizes the way that the chair distributes the sitting forces—the entire structure is (purportedly) under constant tension, which allows it to support weight:

Sara Paculdo
Sara Paculdo

Omri Barzeev, a recent design-school graduate, has a knack for folding stuff into chairs. The back of his Zaza chair starts as a single sheet of plastic, which he then covers in felt and folds into shape. The legs of the chair are basically one huge clamp, holding the backrest/seatpan together:

Omri Barzeev

Christian Desile's folding chair was an award-winning standout at September's Maison & Object, France's largest furniture fair. It folds remarkably flat for storage, in a cart or on a wall:

Christian Desile

You weren't tired of cardboard chairs were you? Whew. Tom de Vrieze's Kraftwerk chair, which recently won DesignBoom's carbboard chair competition. (He kind of cheated though—the chair is filled with expanding foam.)

Tom de Vrieze
Tom de Vrieze