Plytube by Seongyong Lee


Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Royal College of Art graduate Seongyong Lee has developed a process for making wooden tubes from veneer, which he uses to make lightweight furniture. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Called Plytube, the project employs a process similar to that used in making cardboard tubes, with the laminates wrapped around and hardened with glue.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Lee developed hollow joints transforming the material into a series of tables and stools.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

The Royal College of Art Show Two continues until 4 July.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Here's some further information from Seongyong Lee:

Plytube is a new way of tubing wood using the similar principal of making paper tube but with some more process to harden the wooden tube which I made.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

As the principal seems obvious but haven't really been tried as real object, it has given me much more interest and enthusiasm for a year and half.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Plytube is accurate wooden tube, very light but strong, long lasting as for the value of plywood and acceptable with all kinds of tooling and finishing for wood.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

If it is on manufacturing, the diameter, thickness, colour, type of wood and even the section of the shape will be able to be customized. Ultimately, it could also be used for architectural material as well as for life goods.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

I made some furniture series which should be light.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

You will see how light but strong the furniture which are made with minimal material could be.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

For instance, the weight of the stool is 820g even though it is a proper sized stool and with rigid structure.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Each furniture shows the good things of plytube such as the structural rigidity, new aesthetic of joints and finish for the stool, extremely strong things for the bench and the hollowness of the tube which is used for a mobile phone charger cable pathway for the small tables.

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

Plytube by Seongyong Lee

See also:


by Osko+Deichmann
by Studio Gorm
furniture stories

Dezeen Book of Ideas out now!

Seongyong Lee is included in our book, Dezeen Book of Ideas. Buy it now for just £12.

Posted on Thursday July 1st 2010 at 11:16 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • edward

    At last: Furniture design from Dezeen that offers real innovation.Bravo!

  • Andy


  • very elegant indeed!

  • Chris Dobson

    Sometimes an idea comes along that is so elegant and obvious that it is impossible to believe that it has not been thought of before. This is one of those times….

    I bet Shigeru Ban is now feverishly trying to develop an application for these.

  • Teo

    I don’t want to crush all your hopes and dreams but in our world most of the new things have already been discovered or used.

    Google Shigeru Ban Paper – and you will see to what extend paper tubes can be used. He did a more spectacular job than most of us can comprehend. And it’s not just furniture, it’s Architecture.

    Nevertheless this project is interesting but please do not state that this hasn’t been tried before – because it would be a lie.

  • PeeBee

    I can bet on this being the best in show

  • f. stachio

    Really nice and well suited to the minimal forms. Would like to see the materials applied to further formal exploration. Great work!

  • Matthew

    @Teo, can I crush your comment by pointing out that these aren’t paper tubes? Some people don’t think, they just skim through the photos.

    well done Seongyong Lee, what I like is that the innovation isn’t the source material nor the structure, the innovation is where material and structure meet each other and make the most of each other. This is Engineering.

  • hihello

    what a comment teo. was there a tear in your eye? This is far superior to Ban which in my opinion was absolutely overrated.
    well done Seongyong Lee

  • It’s good to see a designer actually CREATE. So sick of seeing pages and pages of renders and half-baked ideas that look pretty but not much else. This is elegant and I applaud his experimentation. This is the kind of designer I want to be when I get out of uni. How refreshing.

  • j

    I agree with Teo. It may not be exactly same, but the relevant concept is same. if u google ‘paper tube furniture’, will notice that its been done a lot by ananymous designers already.
    In add, the way of using paper tubes is not even new.

  • well at first sight, it doesn’t make a very good impression, but then, I realize that it’s kind of creative, not that is the best design that i’ve ever seeing. but it’s not bat as product. In these time when everybody say that everything was already done, the only thing to cancell these cliche, is to develope project where it doesn’t involve a merketing style, so then provoque, some development for any future.

  • Very nice.

    Love the fact that they can be worked as wood post construction – would like to see this aspect pushed further too.

  • mean deviation

    ‘He did a more spectacular job than most of us can comprehend’

    oh come on a bit over the top. I saw what he did and it didn’t make much sense at all. to be honest. i thought it was a lil lazy.

  • Jack

    Excellent idea, well realized and should make this person very rich with it’s possible applications!

  • I like the attempt at something new. Two thoughts pop as I ingest; 1) why not use bamboo instead? and 2) As the surface contact between two tubes is just the skin of those tubes does that not suggest durability issues? (Not so much out of the factory but with some usage would these joints not become weak in a short period of time?)

  • Teo – you clearly haven,t been to the show…
    you really have to physically touch and hold this furniture to believe how innovative and beautifully crafted it is – you would simply could not believe how light and strong the furniture is.. it feels more like Carbon Fibre than simple Birch ply..

    Best in show by a mile…

  • Davide

    you bring design back to its real meaning

  • DIY Bamboo? Love it. Very smart joints, too. I’m impressed and shure this will last. I hope you have taken care of the patent. Big commercial perspective here!

  • Perigeum

    About this ‘it’s been done in paper’ comments.. yes and that is why it is so amazing that it has not been done with veneer yet!!

    .. which has it’s very own.. very different esthetics. If you have been around the block a few times in the design world you will notice that ideas about ‘never been done’ and unique-ness are soooo eighties!!! Catch up to the modern world and learn that it is all about re-invention nowerdays.

  • Xit

    This is wood not paper, this is real design & real innovation.

    It think too many people here are trying desperately to discredit a top notch project.

    Thats totally normal because this is a project to be jealous of :)

  • well yes is a good project,, but not to be jealous,,, i think is a great design, but not over estimate the project also.

  • antepostnow

    this is a very innovative (joints and overall finish) evolution (tube) which should take this concept to mass production – THE ultimate compliment to the creator. congratulations from my end.

  • Worldcuploser

    Come on, several companies in the US already commercially produce plywood tubes for applications including lightweight furniture… and the same rolled paper method has been done too, i think not commercially, but developed by some craftsman in the UK -1970/80’s? I’ll try and dig out a reference.

    The pieces are quite cute, but let’s be clearer about what innovation actually being claimed here. Precedent research is not just about googling!

  • Prof Z.

    I see this from Ecal school but the manufacturing process is very different

  • Went to make sure it was still nice at the RCA show.

    It was.

    Maybe best in show?

  • antandapple

    Nice connection details, nice top edges. Concerned about wear at base of the legs over time. Will there be a solid foot cap or glide?

  • Prof Z.

    Great innovation but perfection is not for this world: 3 holes in stool is a problem when i use it as a small table … or may be a small putting green….
    I need more colors, more humor… more smile design…