Clerkenwell Design Week 2016: Benjamin Hubert's design studio Layer has expanded and updated its Cradle collection for Italian furniture brand Moroso, featuring a stretch-mesh material made using new digital knitting techniques (+ slideshow).
Originally launched in Milan in 2013, Hubert's Cradle chair collection now features seat backs made from a stretch mesh created using similar knitting technology to Nike's Flyknit material.
In addition to a high-back lounge chair similar to the original Cradle chair, which launched during Milan design week 2013, his London studio Layer has added a low-back lounge chair and a room divider to the collection.
Each chair in the range is constructed from a metal frame, an upholstered seat and a mesh textile backrest, which imitates the feel of leaning back in a hammock.
The room divider features the same knitted material stretched across rounded rectangular frames.
The original Cradle chair included a fabric back support cut with a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine. To create the mesh for the updated models, similarly computer-controlled machines were used to knit layers of fibre into complex three-dimensional shapes.
Layer worked alongside an Austrian textile factory to create Cradle's three-dimensional stretch textile, which has high strength but low density – meaning it can offer the necessary support but with a fraction of the material.
"The 3D-knitted technology and approach utilised in Cradle's backrest reduces the amount of material whilst increasing comfort, and can be paralleled to Flyknit technology found in the upper of Nike footwear," said the studio.
"The soft and cushioning foam seat of Cradle absorbs the impact of sitting and supports the weight of the user, [similar] to the approach of footwear soles that utilise cushioning foam to absorb the impact of running," it added.
The mesh is made up of Trevira CS – a supportive flame-retardant polyester – and elastic polypropylene fibres. The knitting technology allows buyers to specify the colour of each yarn.
Other designers to have made use of new developments in knitting include Jonas Forsman – who created a chair with a 3D-knitted back for Moooi – and Royal College of Art graduate Ammo Liao, who designed shoes with 3D-printed soles and uppers.
Other products presented during the event included Loll's Lollygagger range of outdoor furniture made from recycled milk bottles, and YenChen YaWen Studio's Patina Jesmonite vessels that change colour as they age and oxidise.