The chair will be unveiled in October at the K 2007 plastics fair in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Above: Grcic (right) examining a prototype with Martin Plank
Below is a press release from BASF containing more information than you will ever need:
It is a well known fact that BASF provides support for its customers in the engineering of technical components. In the past, the company has also been involved in projects associated with the design of industrial and consumer goods. However, recently BASF has become even more involved with this topic in a new and comprehensive manner and now offers designers even more intensive advice and practical support to help them develop their projects. One particularly impressive example is the "MYTO" chair, which was developed by the highly acclaimed German designer Konstantin Grcic in collaboration with the Italian furniture producer Plank and BASF. The chair is made entirely from the engineering plastic Ultradur® High Speed (polybutylene terephthalate – PBT) which has an extraordinary flowability. "MYTO" will be introduced to the public for the first time at the K 2007 trade fair.
The workshop and the idea
The project was started in late summer 2006, when BASF invited four renowned designers, including internationally acclaimed German designer Konstantin Grcic, to a joint workshop – Universal Days – in Ludwigshafen. The aim was to explain the creative potential of BASF's engineering plastics – the "ultras". The properties of the material were demonstrated to the designers using everyday examples. This demonstration didn’t consist only of graphs and figures but explained practical properties such as rigidity, strength, viscosity, thermoforming abilities and the mutual dependencies of these properties.
Chairs are design icons
During the following months the experts at BASF and Konstantin Grcic [KGID] developed the idea of using the special properties of Ultradur® High Speed for an industrially manufactured design product. They soon agreed that a chair would be the greatest challenge for a project such as this – not just in terms of manufacturing, but also in regard to the design. Chairs are design icons, but they are still everyday objects. Konstantin Grcic believes that chairs should not only fulfill a purpose – they also have a personality. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the most outstanding architects of the 20th century, once said that it is more difficult to design a chair than a complete building.
Record development time of just one year.
Right from the beginning, KGID and BASF involved the Italian furniture company Plank to produce the chair. BASF was the initiator and the driving force throughout the entire process with its expertise regarding the innovative material. The first design for the chair in which the material properties were optimally utilized was created within a relatively short time. "Because of the close collaboration in the team the project generated a lot of energy," says Konstantin Grcic. The first wire models were soon created, followed by Styropor® models to demonstrate sitting comfort. Numerous CAD models and development cicles followed to calculate the rigidity and the design of the molded parts. In May 2007, the partners decided on the final design and construction of the molds started. "Normally it would take around two to three years to develop a chair" says Grcic. But with the constructive dialog among those involved in the project, the chair will be on the market after just one year of planning and production. "This level of efficiency is unprecedented. To implement projects within a group of experts in such a short time is visionary in the field of design," reckons Grcic.
"MYTO": a milestone in the history of the cantilever chair
The chair from Grcic is also a pioneering design. The designer chose the typology of the cantilever chair as a reference. The original cantilever chair is synonymous with the beginning of modern furniture design. But what does a contemporary reworking of the Breuer icon “Cesca" (1928) or the “Panton Chair" (1967) look like? And – is it possible to re-interpret the subject of the cantilever chair with Ultradur® High Speed? Grcic found an answer to these questions: he designed what is – in terms of its formal construction – a unique chair by fully utilizing the extraordinary properties of the material. The particular strength and high flowability of the plastic enable a unique transition from a thick to a thin cross-section. The chair which is produced as a monoblock presents a strikingly stable frame into which the seat and the backrest fit perfectly with their net-like perforations.
World Premiere at K 2007
The chair “MYTO", designed by Konstantin Grcic and made from Ultradur® High Speed, will be officially presented by Mr Grcic at K 2007, the world's biggest trade fair for the plastics industry. Visitors to the fair can try out the chair at the BASF stand.
Update 05/07/2007: the text above has been updated at the request of KGID as there were a number of errors in the first version.