Membrane and Cradle
Benjamin Hubert modulates materials
Apr 4, 2013
Illustration of the armchair "Membrane", photo © ClassiCon

Benjamin Hubert often uses well-known materials and upholstery fabrics in unusual, surprising contexts. In Milan the British designer will be presenting two new armchairs with mesh structures: “Membrane” for ClassiCon and “Cradle” for Moroso.

Concrete lampshades, PET felt seat shells, a leather armchair with a pleated stretchable cover – Benjamin Hubert knows how to amaze us. The 29-year-old British designer always begins the design process with a consideration of fundamental questions and a detailed analysis.

Such questions would be:

Does the new design really have a raison d’être for any particular reason?

Is it visually innovative or does it establish a new typology?

Can a product be simplified or made more efficient in its use?

How do people use/approach the object on an everyday basis?

Is it ecologically sustainable?

And in this case: Does a comfortable armchair necessarily have to be big and heavy with thick padding?

Membrane for ClassiCon

Certainly not. The armchair “Membrane” that Hubert has designed for ClassiCon is light, capacious, yet semi-transparent, and features a kind of knitted stocking as a cover. The extremely strong woven textile mesh is tightly stretched across a CNC-machined framework in a perfect fit, with the overlapping of the different layers of mesh creating attractive moiré effects. The cover makes for a pleasantly soft seat and replaces the thick padding of traditional armchairs. At the same time it lends the large chair a great deal of lightness while using minimal material.

Benjamin Hubert says of the chair: “The entire construction is inspired by the sports and camping sector. As the armchair is very lightweight, I can carry it from A to B and even use it on the terrace, for example. “Membrane” offers maximum comfort with a minimal carbon footprint.”

Cradle for Moroso

As we all know, Moroso continually sets standards when it comes to relaxing seating that looks exciting and makes original use of materials. Now the Italians have commissioned Benjamin Hubert to design a lounge chair. “Cradle” is a fusion of two types of seating, namely a woven hammock and a conventional upholstered armchair. The model is once again based on one of Hubert’s studies; in this case one exploring the relationships between the traditional individual components of an item of seating furniture.

Hubert created a backrest using a woven, non-elastic fabric, whose pattern results from special cut-outs and has a 3D effect. The material gently and comfortably supports the user’s body. “Cradle” seems familiar and yet is innovative in terms of use of materials and processing technology. (ua)

Structure of the armchair "Cradle", photo © Moroso