Zieharsofika upholstery by Meike Harde

Product news: German design graduate Meike Harde has designed a range of upholstered benches and stools simply by folding foam mats and fixing them to wooden frames with elastic bands.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

Meike Harde created the furniture with the motivation to explore new methods of upholstery construction, aiming to create a stiff cushion from a flat foam mat.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

"Other upholstery products are trying to use fabric without wrinkles. I want to use the natural creases in a big dimension as ornamentation, and to construct stiffness," explains Meike, adding that stretching fabric over foam to create a flat finish requires a difficult construction process that takes a lot of time.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

By contrast, the simple, fast construction method that Meike has invented uses just three components: foam, rubber bands and wood.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

The foam mat is layered and gathered tightly to create waves that are held together at the top and bottom with elastic bands. The cushion is then compressed and fixed using longer elastic bands in the opposite direction, before the wooden stool is inserted underneath the elastic.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

This design avoids permanent connections between the foam and the wood, making it easy to replace cushions when they become worn.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

The small stool, which Meike says "looks like broccoli, is made from a square piece of foam while the benches are made from a rectangular piece of foam.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

When asked about the comfort of the stiff benches, Meike told Dezeen "the furniture should be used as a bench, not as a very soft armchair," comparing the comfort to that of Chesterfield leather furniture.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

We have also featured a series of disturbing masks designed by Meike Harde, called Too Beautiful to be True.

Zieharsofika by Meike Harde

Other benches and stools we have featured on Dezeen include a bench that can be converted into a chaise longue, or an armchair and a side table, and a collection of stools that can be used as tables or seats.