Dune by Rainer Mutsch


Dune by Rainer Mutsch

Vienna Design Week 2010: Austrian designer Rainer Mutsch has created a range of outdoor seating moulded from sheets of fiber cement.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

The recyclable composite is more normally used in the construction industry, and is made from natural materials including cellulose fibres.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

Called Dune, the seats comprise loops of the material and can be used as individual pieces or a modular system.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

Mutsch developed the project with Viennese production company Eternit and presented it at the Verdarium showroom as part of Vienna Design Week earlier this month.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

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The information that follows is from Rainer Mutsch:


The background

When I saw the very first Eternit – machine, I was amazed: 20 metres long, more than 100 years old and by now of course upgraded with high-tech computers, the very heart of the machine is still the cast-metal construction built back in 1905. This impressive device survived 2 world wars and is until today producing a material which is sold worldwide.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

The history of the material and its technical potential were part of its fascination and at the same time it was a challenge for me to work with a material that it is, due to its roughness and its primary use as building material, not necessarily associated with furniture design in the first place.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

But, to quote the Swiss designer Willy Guhl (1915-2004), who designed the Loop-Chair in 1954 “there is no ‚good’ or ‚bad’ material, what makes the difference is its right and adequate use.”

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

The shape

For me Dune was a very demanding project, because it depended on so many parameters:

ergonomics, durability, capability of mass production, release properties, statics, modularity, and eco friendliness, to mention only a few. Many prototypes and a lot of research were necessary in order to get the maximum stability out of 3d- deformed fiber cement; eventually, the geometry of the chair supports its stability through its controlled expansion and compression of the material.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

Dune visualizes the present material-technical maximum parametres of the fibercement material. The result is a highly stable structure with a load-carrying capacity way over the demanded requirement profile for public spaces. With Dune I wanted to tell a story about the materials capabilities, the history of the company and the hand formed production method.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

The shape of all 5 Dune elements now allows the user to move freely on the objects and to choose an individual seating position according to his or her individual taste. This flexibility guarantees at the one hand maximum comfort for the individual and on the other hand facilitates communication when the elements are arranged in a group. Since Dune has been designed as highly modular and indefinitely expandable system, it fits all spatial situations.

Dune by Rainer Mutsch

The possibility of the integration of plants offers an additional possibility to create shadow and to further customize the space. DUNE will be available from spring 2011.

The material

Produced by the company Eternit fiber-cement is a very durable, fully recyclable material consisting of 100% natural materials like cellulose fibers and water.

Fact sheet:
A1 – not flammable
UV – stable (100% solid-colored)
Highly breathable
100% recyclable
100% natural incredients (cellulose fiber and cement)
Green Certificate from the “Institut Bauen und Umwelt” Europe
100% frost-resistant
Highly durable

Each Dune element is 3D-molded out of one whole fiber-cement panel (260 x 110cm), the cut-offs are thereby reduced to a minimum.

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Posted on Wednesday October 27th 2010 at 6:50 pm by Laura Chan. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • defunkt

    a decent willy guhl successor!

  • Jonny

    Beautiful design but as a Landscape Architect (and specifier of such products) it appears that the scope of these peices will be severely restricted due to thier delicate nature. I presume 'load-carrying capacity way over the demanded requirement profile for public spaces' means the type of 'public spaces' found in the lobby of a museum rather than a public square.

    • Rainer Mutsch

      The load carrying capacity of one chair is around 900kg (tested on the main seating area – 30 x 30 cm).

  • I love the design but they look very delicate

  • angry catalan

    Jonny: maybe yes, maybe no. I see a problem with rain and also lots of unwanted dirt and who knows what else in the inner part of the loop, but as for structural loads, this IS a form of reinforced concrete after all. Plus, as with all concrete shells, its load bearing capacity depends more on the actual geometry than whether the shell looks delicate – and it's hard to tell just from pictures, I think.

    A good thing: the complete lack of edges is a very big plus, as they age badly and it's where the coating starts to peel.

  • Jonny

    Unless I'm completely mistaken the end of every unit has an edge. I've seen sold concrete escofet benches broken in half in external public spaces so I'm pretty sure these boys wont stand a chance. I guess my point is, their fantastic but have a limited use, and it is silly for furniture designers to pretend otherwise.

    • Rainer Mutsch

      jonny: i understand your concerns but there is a BIG difference between fiber-concrete (used by escofet etc.) and the fiber-cement (eternit panels) used for DUNE: fiber concrete is produced using a cast technique with long fibers as reinforcement resulting in a rather brittle and rigid structure. fiber cement is basically produced by pressing a mixture of cement, water and very short 3d-oriented fibers with 12000t to panels. the result is that this material is slightly flexible and has very good mechanical 3d-load distributions similar to fiber reinforced plastic. so for example if you smash a hammer against an edge the fiber concrete would splinter, fiber cement wouldn't.

    • Juan

      Just as silly as landscape architects pretending they know how to make things…

      • jonny

        Hi Juan, my challenge to furniture designers would be to make something fantastic that can actually be specified in the public realm. If you want proof of a lack of success in this area just walk around any street in the western world and look at what is being used. I'm not criticizing the talent of furniture designers just questioning if you guys are listening? There is a market for this, as LA's and Architects are tired of looking at great pieces which are unusable, then having to specify hideous but robust stuff.

    • angry catalan

      It's not the kind of edge that you would see deteriorating on a concrete Escofet bench, I think, but eventually it will deteriorate of course.

      By the way, Barcelona is full of Escofet benches, and besides eroded edges they seem to be doing quite well – as long as you don't skate on them daily for a month they should be OK. And they should, at that price…

  • I love the design, however, water retention in the seat after rain seems like it could be an issue.

    • Rainer Mutsch

      the water flows through a integrated hole in the seat to the inside of the loop – the curved shape of the bottom surface leads it directly out of the furniture to keep it as dry as possible.

  • Steve

    Beutiful material but how can the wet concrete act as a sheet? Is it cement poured on a porous matrix or cellulose pad?

  • I like this design and usage of material is fantastic. Always good to see some pictures from the process. Good job.

  • Lovely piece and clever design :)
    Congrats, Rainer! Nice to see you are doing that well :)

  • Wow let me sleep on one of those while I watch tv LOL :)
    Lovely design! And glad to see that the material is 100% natural and recyclable nowdays.

    • I agree
      it's a Lovely piece. I like this design and usage of material is fantastic

  • ZIga

    @Rainer Mutsch

    One question: Where can one purchase a seat or two? I'm seriously thinking of getting it for my garden… BTW: I'm from Slovenia, so, I could come and pick it up myself.

  • This is what design is made for…make us living better…

  • Pamela M

    Hello, Mr. Rainer Mutsch I am an industrial designer interested in this process. What's the material used in the mold for this furniture? Is it PVC? silicon? Where can I get more information about the process?

    Thanks a lot

    Pamela Marín