Audi creates the R18 Ultra Chair

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 24, 2012

New chairs normally don’t excite us but this one does. A Vorsprung durch Technik makeover was given to the household chair. It takes inspiration from the Audi sports prototype that participated in the Le Mans 24-hour race this year, leading to an overwhelming 1-2-3 finish. The R18 Ultra Chair made its global debut in early December at the Design Miami. The R18 Ultra Chair was built from the creative minds of designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram.

The most efficient and sustainable processes were used to build this chair, using a combination of carbon fibre, carbon and high-strength sheet aluminium. The chair is guaranteed to be almost feather-light to lift with its maximum stability and comfort with minimum consumption of materials. The aesthetically-pleasing chair was introduced in prototype form at the Milan Furniture Fair last April.

It featured a range of sensors that could gather data on the forces at play each time that the chair was used. About 1,500 testers got the chance to try it. The designers worked together with the engineers at the Audi Lightweight Construction Centre. They gathered data that they then used for the prototype. This enabled them to create a product that epitomizes the principles of Audi ultra lightweight construction for a total weight of just 2.2 kilograms.

It made intelligent use of advanced materials, high strength and very low weight. According to Dr. Karl Durst, an engineer in fibre-reinforced composites at the Audi Lightweight Construction Centre, the product combines the strengths of the materials in a way that their weaknesses are no longer relevant. He added that this efficiency is the “focus of [its] ultra lightweight construction principle.”

The R18 Ultra Chair is the second project for this team of designers who had been responsible for the award-winning installation OUTRACE on London’s Trafalgar Square in 2010. Weisshaar and Kram are regarded as ‘the vanguard of the next generation of digital designers’. Their work is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

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