The Cutting Edge sofa by Martijn Rigters is a playful take on the methods used by design studios to prototype objects.
Hot wire foam cutting usually involves heating a thin piece of wire to cut through polystyrene quickly. In design studios, this is process is normally controlled very carefully, but Rigters wanted to make the process more random.
"This technique offered the opportunity to explore a new process and experiment with the great three dimensional potential it has," Rigters said.
The designer created a series of unique shapes out of wire representing the seat and backrest, underside, back and front, then attached them to a wooden frame big enough for a block of polystyrene to pass through.
The wires were connected to batteries, which provided the heat necessary for the polystyrene to be cut cleanly.
Setting the wires in differing profiles to begin with would alter the overall shape of the piece, but the final form and rippling effect was controlled by how the foam was pushed through the gap in the middle.
"All movement of the user guiding the block through the machine is directly translated into a form," explained Rigters. "This is a very intuitive way to work, because one can react to the form that is created at that exact moment."
When completed, the couch was covered in a tough polyurea coating, making it suitable for use indoors or outdoors.
The process could be replicated on any scale, with the only limitation being the size of the foam available.
Rigter will display the piece at Spazio Rossana Orlandi during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile next month.
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