Ahrend likes simplicity of plastics

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Dutch furniture supplier Ahrend made a revolutionary Revolt chair in 1953 designed by Friso Kramer with a U-shaped steel profile replacing solid steel or steel tubes. Its latest Ahrend 380 chair uses similar principles of simplicity, but in injection moulded plastic.

Ineke Hans designed the stackable Ahrend 380 chair to be made with two polymers. The flexible backrest in white high gloss Xenoy polycarbonate/PET blend from Sabic Innovative Plastics contains recycled PET. The backrest slots into an integrated seat and leg moulding made in glass fibre reinforced polyamide in matt black, blue or white.

Optional white armrests in the same Xenoy material form a small table when the chairs are placed together in rows, Hans says. It takes just 30 seconds to disassemble the chair for recycling.

Since 1965, Ahrend has made furniture using Ciranol, a melamine formaldehyde, laminated wood fibre plastic composite, but Hans sought a more contemporary material for the Ahrend 380 chair.

Dutch industrial design studio BPO worked with Hans' design sketches and wooden models, using 3D CAD for injection moulding optimisation. BPO says: "The chair legs were a real challenge, due to the stiffness required to accommodate the relatively large angle with the seat."

BPO used finite element analysis methods to ensure there was sufficient strength for the backrest, yet enough flexibility, especially in the upper part, for comfortable sitting.

First introduced at Elle Decoration magazine's Inside Design Amsterdam exhibition in September 2010 by retailers Mobilia Woonstudio and Strand West, the chair has since gone on sale at other outlets, for example, De Bijenkorf.

The Ahrend 380 has won Designlink's Good Industrial Design (GIO) award, as well as the Dutch Design Award and the Design Factory Prize 2011 from the Dutch North Brabant region during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in October 2011.

Ahrend says it wants to be the most sustainable company in its sector in Europe. It has set itself a 2020 target of creating a closed loop for the entire product and recovery cycle and to produce in a climate neutral way via eco-design and cradle-to-cradle principles. Efficient use and reuse of materials are a central focus here, the company states.


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