Check Out These High-Tech, Transforming, Carbon Fiber Shelves
Carbon fiber is the material of choice when engineers and designers need high strength without added volume and weight–perfect for things like bikes, wheelchairs, high performance cars, aerospace parts, etc. But aside from a few novelty items, carbon fiber hasn’t been a mainstay in furniture design. The reason is simple: carbon fiber is pretty expensive, difficult to manufacture and most furniture doesn’t need to be particularly lightweight, so metal and lumber derived materials are the go-tos for furniture construction. But Japanese design house Nendo’s new Nest shelving unit is presenting a compelling reason why carbon fiber might be incorporated into modern furniture design.
The Nest shelves expand from 25” to 51”. The vertical sheets are made of 3.7mm carbon fiber and the horizontal ones are made of a honeycomb material sandwiched by carbon fiber sheets. The whole assembly is clad with a thin larch veneer so it still has a somewhat traditional look. This construction allows Nendo to make their shelves super thin yet very strong. As such, when the shelves are nested on top of one another, it’s tough to tell there are additional panels under the top ones, thus maintaining a lithe, modern aesthetic. And because of carbon fiber’s rigidity, the shelves, when extended, make no compromise in strength.
While the combination of high strength and low weight and volume are not necessarily that important for things like sofas and built-in furniture–things that don’t move or do that much–items like the Nest shelves can benefit greatly from carbon fiber construction. You could make other items such as chairs that are super slim and strong and store compactly or an ultra thin large table that folds in on itself–furthering the argument for applying high technology to the sometimes technology-resistant world of furniture design.