New technologies and material innovations “have always been the starting point for new objects and typologies in design,” says German product designer Werner Aisslinger, whose Hemp Chair recently debuted at Material Vision 2011, a trade exhibition for product development, design and architecture. Aisslinger combined renewable raw materials (hemp and kenaf fiber) and the water-based thermoset binder Acrodur® to create a natural fiber monobloc (one-piece) chair that made visitors sit up and take notice.
German chemical giant BASF developed Acrodur, which allowed natural fibers to make up 75% of the Hemp Chair. Unlike reactive resins that release phenol or formaldehyde as they set, Acrodur’s only byproduct from the cross-linking process is water. “For us it was important to show the versatility of natural fibers in combination with our binder,” says Dr. Michael Kalbe, technical marketing director for Fiber Bonding at BASF. “Werner Aisslinger’s creation combines eco-friendliness, functionality, form and optics.”