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1.3 Balsa CHAIR – Furniture Design of the Year 2012


Kihyun Kim, Graduate of the Royal College of Art, lives and works in London. The 1.3 CHAIR was created at the RCA under the framework of his graduation project and was shown for the first time in July 2011 in the exhibition of graduate qualifying works.
The 1.3 balsa chair is the winner of the award “Design of the Year 2012” in the category FURNITURE.
 

1.3 Balsa CHAIR – Furniture Design of the Year 2012
1.3 Balsa CHAIR, design by Kihyun Kim

The 1.3 Balsa CHAIR

The material development from balsa wood by Kihyun Kim gave rise to a super-lightweight
chair of only 1.3 kg. The concept and technology for the 1.3 Balsa CHAIR was the result of extensive research and studies bases on the theme of lightweight construction and ecology.
This chair is in fact even lighter in weight than the legendary “Superleggera” by Gio Ponti
from 1957 that weighed 1.7 kg. Balsa trees grow within 6 years to a height of 21 m with an
average diameter of around 60 cm. Using this rapidly growing source material is sustainable
and ecologically sound.
To date the use of balsa wood for furniture is rather unique. Kihyun Kim developed a method
of processing the wood through form compression of veneer and balsa to produce resistant, stable and extremely light elements. Through the surface veneer the construction is given a high level of resilience.
The 1.3 Balsa Chair is a perfect example of the potential of balsa as a raw material. Its material
innovation may well influence future design and architecture.
A further aspect of this chair is its classic form: it is plain, uncomplicated and seems familiar –
at the same time surprising in its novelty. The combination of material innovation and classical
craftsman’s design leads to a new interpretation of “chair” as a piece of furniture. Also the
combination of comfort and compactness makes it ideally suited for locations where space is
restricted such as in city restaurants, cafes, bars and bistros.

1.3 Balsa CHAIR – Furniture Design of the Year 2012
1.3 Balsa CHAIR, design by Kihyun Kim

1.3 CHAIR produced by ZEITRAUM

The series solution is produced by ZEITRAUM in solid wood as the version in balsa wood
has not yet met the requirements for an item of furniture in daily use. Moreover, the high
production costs at present do not allow a viable market price. Further development is
currently ongoing in order to achieve the desired result.

1.3 Balsa CHAIR – Furniture Design of the Year 2012
1.3 CHAIR, design by Kihyun Kim American walnut and oak

1.3 Balsa CHAIR – Furniture Design of the Year 2012
1.3 CHAIR, design by Kihyun Kim American walnut

During the development phase at ZEITRAUM we created the 1.3 ensemble comprising the
1.3 CHAIR, 1.3 STOOL and 1.3 BAR stool. This ensemble is available in 3 types of wood,
ash, oak and American walnut and was first presented at the Salone Internationale del
Mobile 2012 in Milan.

1.3 Balsa CHAIR – Furniture Design of the Year 2012
1.3 CHAIR, 1.3 BAR, 1.3 STOOL design by Kihyun Kim American walnut

1.3 Balsa CHAIR – Furniture Design of the Year 2012
1.3 BAR, design by Kihyun Kim American walnut

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