Knit Chair
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Project Details
Name: Knit Chair
Designer: Emiliano Godoy
Year: 2004
Materials: FSC certified birch plywood, cotton rope
Finish: Livos
Dimensions: 150 x 80 x 110 cm
Status: IN PRODUCTION by Pirwi in Mexico City
The Knit Chair was the first knitted piece that Emiliano Godoy designed. The strong, flexible rope connections allow the chair to adapt to the user’s body and movements. All materials, glues and coatings are natural and biodegradable. The rope joints can be easily cut at the end of the chair’s life, further facilitating biodegradation.


This design was awarded a Bronze Leaf at the International Furniture Design Competition Asahikawa ‘05 in Asahikawa, Japan, and was included in the permanent design collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.


Emiliano’s chair just shouts good design! The fact that it is completely biodegradable just adds to the experience. The materials and construction blend the common, cotton rope, with high tech, aircraft plywood, in such a way as to be startlingly intuitive. The chair is both new and old, seductive and responsible, beautiful and crafty, simultaneously! (Bruce Hannah)


The clear concept of a piece structured only by plywood and strings is a unique work that has the potential to be developed in various ways. (Toshiyuki Kita, June 2005)


An ongoing project I’ve worked on since 2004 is the design of pieces made with knit pieces of wood. This project started while studying my masters in industrial design at Pratt Institute in New York. I was researching vegetable based materials for design, and developing 100% biodegradable pieces. The Knit Chair was my first attempt at designing a furniture piece with this approach. I tried to accomplish this requirement while having a design language that would speak about the construction of the chair, and therefore its deconstruction. After the chair came a small paper bin, Beem, a room divider (Piasa), a trestle (Spot Jamming) and a sofa (Catamarán). At Pirwi, the manufacturing company for these pieces, we’ve adopted the knitting technique for other designs, such as Jam by Rodolfo Samperio and Pirul by Alejandro Castro. This is testament to my belief that a sustainable future should be based on collaboration and solidarity instead of secrecy and competition.


The resulting aesthetic of the knit pieces is very compelling to me, as well as their conceptual origin. I think about sustainability as a design prerequisite, but the idea of a “Biological Future” became a very powerful driving force because I think as a general framework it is futuristic and achievable, as well as simple and versatile. There are many reasons for this: by using biomass as the primary source for our energy and material needs we will contribute to reduce emissions of green house gasses, simplify our disposal and recycling infrastructure and deal appropriately with products for which no feasible collection currently exists. Biomass is produced by living organisms that are tightly related to Nature’s life-supporting cycles, and its use within sustainable parameters would set the pace for industrial activity. Technological materials would be saved for applications where no biological material performs adequately, and their availability would be guaranteed for a longer period of time. Fewer regulatory and certification entities will be needed if capital production and waste recycling depends on efficient natural cycles, since industrial activities would rely on healthy ecosystems for their energy and materials supply.


The knit pieces have another aspect that I like, which is the fact that they cannot be entirely machine made – they depend on hand work. This means that the payment for the pieces goes primarily to labor instead of tooling amortization, and that their particular aesthetic depends on this. By adding other social and environmental strategies, such as fair labor practices, certified wood and ecological glues and finishes, the pieces become very strong statements about sustainable design. (Emiliano Godoy)