Design Questions and Answers

Flexible Wood Panels: Innovation in Interior Design

What we’ve achieved is simple yet transformative: turning rigid plywood into a flexible material. Our research and design process follows the original logic of plywood’s creation.

#01: What is the innovation behind flexible wood panels?

Flexible wood panels are innovative materials that transform traditional plywood, known for its rigidity, into a soft, fabric-like structure. By slicing, layering, laminating, and separating the layers of plywood, the traditionally hard surface becomes soft and elastic. PlyProject introduces an innovative material solution for interior design.

#02: What is the material characteristic of flexible wood panels?

Flexible wood panels consist of a sandwich panel structure, composing layers of plywood and foam. The behaviors and properties of each combine to yield a balanced, springy material that functions as a single new entity. As a result, plywood becomes a fabric-like structure, offering new visual and tactile experiences.

#03: How does the tactile experience of flexible wood panels enhance interior spaces?

The fabric-like structure and appearance of flexible wood panels introduce a unique tactile experience, often evoking a sense of comfort and warmth. Their adaptability allows to create spaces that resonate with human emotions, making our built environments feel more organic and harmonious.

#04: What are the benefits of using flexible wood panels in interior design?

One of the benefits is their transportability. Flexible wood panels can be rolled and unrolled, making them ideal for space-saving designs. Their fabric-like appearance enhances psychological well-being, and their adaptability creates new interlinked possibilities for interior design.

#05: What were the challenges of developing flexible wood panels?

The challenges of creating flexible wood panels were to find the right balance between the material properties of plywood and foam. Layering and separation offered many possible configurations for this new material. Once adhesively bonded, the layered materials became a composite structure that combined the material properties of plywood with the springiness and softness of foam.

#06: What are the sustainable design aspects of flexible wood panels?

Plywood is renowned for its efficient use of wood resources. It yields more usable material from a single log than many other methods, thereby reducing waste and optimizing the use of natural resources. By reimagining and repurposing traditional plywood with digital fabrication technologies, flexible wood panels can be utilized in many architectural applications.

#07: What manufacturing methods are used in the production of flexible wood panels?

While the initial prototypes were developed using analog processes, commercial production now uses digital fabrication technologies for mass production. Yet the essence of wood craftsmanship remains. Even in a digitally-driven environment, the skill, precision, and wood craftsmanship are essential in manufacturing flexible wood panels.

#08: How have digital technologies changed the design of flexible wood panels?

Digital fabrication technologies have expanded what’s possible in designing and manufacturing flexible wood panels. They offer tools to re-envision plywood’s potential. By allowing precise manipulation and production techniques, these digital tools create new design opportunities, transforming historically rigid materials like plywood into flexible and adaptable ones.

#09: What was the design inspiration for flexible wood panels in furniture design?

Designing and building wooden furniture was an extension of material innovation. PlyProject’s primary focus was on the engineering aspects of furniture as miniatures of architecture. The chair became a vehicle to showcase the technological and structural aspects of flexible wood panels, rather than just meeting the core design needs of wooden furniture.

#10: What role did flexible wood panels play in the creation of wooden furniture?

Wooden furniture was not the result of research to create flexible wood panels; it was the result of experimentation and investigation into materials that could change the experience of seating furniture. The first wooden furniture was an ottoman, followed by a low-back chair, a high-back chair, and a chaise lounge.

#11: What wooden furniture has PlyProject designed using flexible wood panels?

Flexible wood panels have gradually evolved from being used in furniture to architectural applications: the 100 cm / 3′ 3″panel became a low-back chair, the 200 cm (6′ 7″) panel became a chaise lounge, and the 400 cm (13′ 1″) panel became a partition wall. Eventually, these panels became freeform elements incorporated into walls and ceilings for interior design.

#12: How do flexible wood panels influence contemporary design in furniture and architecture?

Flexible wood panels serve as a bridge between furniture and architecture. Their adaptability allows them to seamlessly transition from furniture to architectural applications. This creates a unique design opportunity for designers and architects, blurring the lines between furniture and the built environment and leading to harmonized interior spaces.

#13: Why did PlyProject apply flexible wood panels for acoustic uses?

Public environments often have problems with high ambient noise levels that negatively impact work efficiency and quality of life. A common problem in enclosed spaces is reverberation. We are the first company to introduce flexible and wooden acoustic panels that are easy to install. Designers and architects can modify the acoustic environment and create acoustic elements by undulating flexible wood panels.

#14: How does the curvature of flexible wood panels influence acoustics in interior design?

As we sought to make the invisibility of surrounding sounds “visible” through the curvature of flexible wood panels in interior design, we became more familiar with what the acoustics of interior design means in our built environment. Acoustic elements become parts of architecture: they become the sound and vision of architecture. They are functional and beautiful at the same time.

#15: What’s the vision of PlyProject for the future of interior design with flexible wood panels?

PlyProject envisions a future where ordinary materials like plywood are reevaluated to create extraordinary design solutions. We hope designers and architects will embrace the flexibility and innovation that flexible wood panels offer, designing interior spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also sustainable and functional.

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