Audi will be showcasing the pioneering project dubbed "R18 Ultra Chair – Public Beta" at the Palazzo Clerici where visitors can test Audi ultra lightweight technology through an interactive installation. Designers Reed Kram and Clemens Weisshaar teamed up with the Audi Lightweight Design Center to create a chair prototype.
The main goal of lightweight automotive design is to find the most efficient use of energy. Besides, lighter vehicles burn less fuel. Lightweight construction begins by assessing the strengths of the different materials. Based on the ultra lightweight technology principle, the designers utilized the ideal materials in the right locations for the Ultra Chair.
The Audi Lightweight Design Center specialists lent their expertise to the team. Dr. Karl Durst, engineer for fiber-reinforced composites at the Audi Lightweight Design Center, disclosed that three main components have proven "sensible" for the chair -- a high-strength aluminum alloy for the legs, a carbon-fiber/rubber compound for the backrest and an extremely rigid carbon fiber for the seat. The chair can be dismounted and carried in a handy box. Audi will reveal its prototype for the "R18 Ultra Chair" in Milan during its interactive "R18 Ultra Chair – Public Beta" installation. Visitors can personally experience the ultra lightweight technology of Audi.
They can sit on the chair and view a real-time depiction of the structural forces being applied on the chair. Just like a thermal imaging camera, the structural forces are made visible with the use of false-color images. These forces include even the slightest change in weight. Measurements are recorded and assessed, helping in the optimization of the prototype to develop a final variant, which will be showcased in December 2012 at Design Miami.
The Salone Internazionale del Mobile, which is the most prestigious lifestyle event in the world, provides a special opportunity for this ground-breaking project and the installation. Audi is joining this year for the second time. The "R18 Ultra Chair" is the automaker's second partnership with Reed Kram and Clemens Weisshaar, who were recognized as "Designers of the Future" in 2008 by Wallpaper magazine.