R18 Ultra Chair Public Beta by Clemens Weisshaar
and Reed Kram for Audi

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R18 Ultra Chair Public Beta by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram for Audi

Milan 2012: visitors were invited to sit in a chair hooked up to advanced stress-analysis equipment normally used in the car industry at an installation by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram for car brand Audi in Milan last month.

Above: Alice Rawsthorn, New York Times design critic

Data collected from the R18 Ultra Chair Public Beta tests will be used to hone the structure and shape of the final chair, which will be presented at Design Miami in December.

Above: Paola Antonelli, MoMA curator

Movies of every test can be viewed on the project website.

Above: Max Fraser, deputy director of London Design Festival

Weisshaar and Kram previously worked with Audi to install eight robotic arms in London's Trafalgar Square to scrawl messages across the sky.

Above: Marcus Fairs, Dezeen editor-in-chief

See all our stories about their work here.

R18 Ultra Chair Public Beta by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram for Audi

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile took place from 17 to 22 April.

R18 Ultra Chair Public Beta by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram for Audi

See all our stories about Milan 2012 here, plus photos on Facebook and Pinterest.

R18 Ultra Chair Public Beta by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram for Audi

Here's some more information from Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram:


Audi and the designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram are pleased to announce their project for the Salone Internazionale del Mobile Milan 2012:

R18 Ultra Chair - Public Beta

Designed by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram for Audi

For their groundbreaking new venture, the designers are developing a chair within a public testing environment in collaboration with Audi’s Lightweight Design Centre using methods borrowed from the future of automotive manufacturing.

The R18 Ultra Chair consists of three main components: a carbon composite seat, a carbon-rubber composite back rest and aluminium alloy legs which can be compacted and transported in a lightweight flat-pack box.

Its genesis incorporates crowd-sourced data acquired through thousands of testing sessions using advanced industrial sensors whose data is processed by custom algorithms to adjust the final geometry and construction of the end product accordingly.

Visitors to the installation are invited to use the chair and view their unique physical impact on it displayed via a video wall inside the testing booth. Hundreds of industrial sensors integrated into the prototype capture every movement and simultaneously display it as a realtime false colour force simulation, thus exposing and visualising the flow of forces normally hidden from the human eye.

The purpose of this live laboratory is to gather user data in order to optimise the final product and shed every gram of excess weight. Every testing session will be documented as a personalised video and sent back to each visitor by email link to watch and share with friends. After the PUBLIC BETA phase, all crowd-sourced data will be fed into the chair’s design parameters and its production adapted as necessary.

The R18 Ultra Chair - Public Beta installation will take place in the courtyard of the 18th Century Palazzo Clerici, Milan from April 17 to 22, 2012 during the 51st Salone Internazionale del Mobile. The final product will be presented to the public in December 2012 at Design Miami.

The chair’s namesake is the 24 Hours of Le Mans winning Audi R18 race car. Audi has dominated Le Mans with its cutting edge technology for the past decade and won 10 races since 2000. As part of the installation the Le Mans 2011 winning Audi R18 will be exhibited alongside the PUBLIC BETA testing lab. The carbon fibre monocoque chassis with an Audi TDI 3.7 litre V6 engine and total weight of only 900kg represents the ultimate in lightweight construction - Audi ULTRA.

Audi Ultra stands for state of the art lightweight construction, technology and design aimed at streamlining and optimising efficiency across the board. This begins with the raw materials sourced for production all the way through various manufacturing stages, the operation of the vehicle, its fuel consumption and its deconstruction and recyclability at the end of its life cycle.

Each stage of the chair’s design, construction and transport is guided by the rigorous principles laid out by the ULTRA paradigm and its holistic application. ULTRA’s specific focus on the intelligent combination of materials stresses the implementation of the optimum material for every given purpose resulting in a sophisticated multi-material space-frame.

The legendary Domus Magazine will be hosting a concurrent exhibition entitled OPEN DESIGN ARCHIPELAGOS curated by editor-in-chief Joseph Grima on the upper floors of the historical Palazzo Clerici.