The Elves and the Chairmakers
On a weekend in early June this year, five designers from the Bodging Milano project visited the famous Lloyd Loom of Spalding factory. Whilst the assembly workers were away, the designers helped themselves to standard components, used the factory machinery, and with the help of two Lloyd Loom craftsmen experimented with the signature weave to make new designs for furniture. Over two days, thirteen new concept products were developed and left in the factory showroom for the staff to find on Monday morning.
The objective of this exercise was to condense the long drawn-out process that typically comes with developing new designs for big established name companies, and ensure that all the new concepts generated would be almost production ready. That is – if the prototypes were made in the factory then reproducing them should be easy.
The frames of traditional Lloyd Loom furniture are assembled from complex steam-bent wooden components. This amazing engineering in wood is normally hidden under the weave and then often painted over and the designers were keen to make more of this hidden structure. By cutting and combining these stock wooden bends in new ways each designer was able to ‘sketch’ full size in 3D, avoiding the need for drawing or computer modeling.
Lloyd Loom of Spalding still use the original looms that twist paper into cord and weave it into sheets of their iconic upholstery fabric. The design group became fascinated in the way this woven material moved and stretched over their shaped wooden frames, creating dynamic compound curves. Experiments also looked at the material’s transparency, inherent strength and potential for flexible comfort.
More information on Lloyd Loom here.