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Inspired by the Cervidae (deer family), specifically the geometries and joins of its antlers and its strong, tall, aggressive stance, the Elka Stool is an exploration of organic transitional geometry and multi-axis CNC machining. Focusing on the simplicity of structure and complexity of the curve, Elka finds its beauty in the subtle details; smooth curves, soft transitions and sharp lines that create a strong contrast within its overall geometry. Made of European Beech and reinforced with steel pins, Elka exploits new technologies in CNC machining to create seamless and extremely strong joints whilst exposing alluring topographies within the grain. From a distance Elka stands as a gesture, it’s not until you engage more intimately with its structure that it exposes its hidden details to you.
The brief required the design of an innovative item of furniture that fully exploits the qualities/opportunities of Computer Aided Manufacturing for the Salone Satellite 2014.
My investigations explored how multi-axis CNC machining could create a stool that was strong but svelte, that could stand tall, without horizontal supports. I was extremely interested in the way we reinforce materials like concrete and sought to utilise the accuracy of CNC machining to reinforce wood in a similar fashion. The complexity of form that CNC allowed me to achieve, helped to create the illusion that Elka' is machined from a single piece of wood, whilst still highlighting the role each part plays.
The design was driven by the geometries found in Elk antlers. I was stimulated by the seamless way each individual antler came together so softly to create a complete structure that stood alone, free from individual elements and remains inherently strong. The way the backrest joins to the arms gives reference to the antlers, whilst the long slightly splayed legs give reference to the height and prowess of the Elk, one of the largest species of the deer family.
The wood is treated to look as raw and natural as possible, a response to modern wooden furniture which I believe has lost the warmth of its material through the standardisation and uniformity of geometries. The smooth lines, soft transitions and curvilinear nature in Elka' attempt to reinstate this warmth, increasing its tactile quality, subsequently enhancing your physical and emotional connection to the object.
As a materials and process driven project Elka seeks to find a harmonious balance between CNC machining and craft, incorporating digital fabrication without rendering the craftsman redundant. Elka remains dependant on skilled craftsman to carefully join and finish all fabricated parts.
A clever tech approach but at its heart it is simply a lovely stool and the tech aspect is not its most interesting aspect.