The Thread Wrapping Machine
by Anton Alvarez

| 2 comments

Threads and glue replace joints and screws in the furniture that emerges from a custom-made machine designed by Royal College of Art graduate Anton Alvarez (+ movie).

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

The Thread Wrapping Machine creates objects by binding components in hundreds of metres of thread while coating them in glue.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by James Champion

Pieces of material such as wood, steel or plastic are passed through the machine as it spins round, controlled by a foot pedal.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by Märta Thisner

As the object is moved through the machine and wrapped in thread, additional components can be added to create chair legs, seat backs and other elements.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by Märta Thisner

Varying the colour and type of thread used creates different patterns around the final objects, which so far include chairs, stools and benches.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by Märta Thisner

"I have full control over the development of the machine," said Alvarez, explaining that the set-up allows him to be independent from industry as well as from tradition. "I can freely experiment and develop it according to what I discover are my needs in this new craft," he added.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by Märta Thisner

Alvarez, who is half Chilean and half Swedish, studied at Konstfack University College of Arts, Craft and Design in Stockholm, Sweden, before completing the Design Products MA at London's Royal College of Art.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Earlier this year, Dezeen filmed a movie of course leader Tord Boontje giving a tour of the Design Products graduate show.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

A version of Alvarez's machine that embellishes the objects with tiny Swarovski crystals is currently on display at the Design Museum as part of the Digital Crystal exhibition.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Other objects in the exhibition we've reported on include Troika's mechanical projector, Philippe Malouin's spinning "light paintings" and Arik Levy's interactive computer-generated crystals.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

We previously featured Alvarez's triangular bench carved from a log of American cherry, which appeared in the V&A museum during the London Design Festival this September as part of an exhibition of work by RCA students.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

See all our stories about machines »
See all our stories about furniture »

Photographs are by Paul Plews except where stated.

Here's some more information from the designer:


The Thread Wrapping Machine is a tool to joint different types of material with only the glue-coated thread as its cement.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by Märta Thisner

Through using this construction method, many different materials can be joined to form objects and spaces such as wood, steel, plastic or bricks. Designing the Thread Wrapping Machine, I have created a new tool and a method of working.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by Märta Thisner

To be independent from industry as well from traditions. I have full control over the development of the machine, I can freely experiment and develop it according to what I discover are my needs in this new craft, the Craft of Thread Wrapping.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by Märta Thisner

The Craft of Thread Wrapping, as it is something that was born with this tool, and don’t have any history neither any traditions or norms to relate to.

The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez

Above: photograph is by Märta Thisner

To become a master of the Craft of Thread wrapping, at least 10,000 metres of thread has to be used.

  • Razvan

    I guess in the end it’s about the end result and it’s appearance. Some of them really did turn out to be nice.

  • http://guykeulemans.com Guy

    What I really like are the images of the designer and colleagues moving the chairs through the wrapping portal (like Stargate, lol). Others have designed wrapping machines (Mischer*Traxler’s is a brilliant example) but this manual function seems to allow for a craft based approach, which, combined with the idea of DIY technology and production seems highly original and yet harmonious with some traditional factory techniques.