Dezeen Magazine

Ultraframe by UM Project

UM Project creates collection of "otherworldly" storage cabinets

Brooklyn furniture brand UM Project has used plastic tube armour, knitted fabrics and cast concrete to make a collection of fantastical storage cabinets.

The Ultraframe collection includes six storage units of different shapes and sizes. Some have obvious uses – an armoire, a chest of drawers, a console – but the functions of others are open to interpretation.

Piece B in the Ultraframe collection features a cast concrete shell set inside an MDF frame

UM Project, which stands for User & Maker, took cues from architecture and transport design to develop the unusual structures. The studio, founded by Francois Chambard, then named the pieces alphabetically.

The pieces were shown at an exhibition hosted by New York design company Colony Consult, which took place as part of this year's NYCxDesign festival.

For the structure of Piece E, the studio intersected layers of aluminium

"The design and fabrication process borrows from traditional furniture making and also to architecture or transportation design like aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding by applying flexible skins or hard shells to various engineered substructures," Chambard told Dezeen.

"Rigorous and geometric frames are completed by soft or rounded covers, shells or inserts," he continued. "The result is both familiar and otherworldly, yielding a family of pieces that are part furniture, part vessel."

Piece A is a chest wrapped in layer of blue fabric, but also features a motorised head

Many of the pieces pair industrial materials with knitted textiles by Dutch brand Febrik, which also presented in the exhibition.

For instance, the maple body of Piece A, a chest, is wrapped with folded and layered tubes of blue fabric. It is topped with a motorised head that lifts up, which is made of lacquered aluminium to match a lacquered MDF door.

Piece C features an aluminium frame covered in plastic tubes

Similarly, the aluminium frame of bookshelf Piece C is covered in phenolic tubes – a type of laminated plastic.

"We looked at different skins including hinged flat panels, knitted materials and thick fabrics," said Chambard. "After some experimentation and prototyping, we settled on a chainmail using phenolic tubing, one of our favourite materials."

Piece D is a chest of drawers made from black cork

A cast-concrete shell with rounded edges sits within a lacquered white MDF frame on tubular legs to form Piece B. The mirrored stainless-steel door on the front of the pod has a circular opening for the handle.

Piece D is a chest of drawers made from black cork, while Piece E is made up of intersected layers of aluminium that can be covered in a fabric fitted slipcover.

There is also a horizontal unit, Piece F, which is fronted with slats of Corian

Lastly, Piece F is fronted by fins of Corian. Unlike the others, it has a horizontal shape with a black aluminium and wood drawer.

The Ultraframe showcase took place as part the annual NYCxDesign, which ran from 3 till 24 May this year. It also included Apparel, the newest knitted textile by Dutch brand Febrik.

Colony and UM Project also contributed to other exhibitions during the festival – Colony created a politically-charged furniture and lighting installation and UM Project launched conductive wallpaper with Flavor Paper.

Photography is by Francis Dzikowski/OTTO.