What do the wooden chairs of trams and fighter jets have in common? Weirdly, the answer is plywood!
This extremely versatile material has been offering the warmth of wood for more than a hundred years now, while boasting a very colorful history. In our latest article series we’ll recount the most fascinating episodes of this story on the apropos of the PLY DESIGN HOUSE industrial design contest.
Known for its plywood furniture, Plydesign has announced an open call in the subject of plywood household, furnishing and accessory items, thus providing an opportunity to young talents to show their creativity. The goal is to uncover the yet unexploited potential of the material, so as to make sure its future is also as lasting and rich as its past.
And what is plywood exactly?
Plywood is made of paper-thin wooden veneer sheets, which are extremely fragile in themselves and tear easily, but when glued together in several layers and compressed, they are strong enough to hold a man and can even withstand forces that a jet fighter meets while flying with 900 km/h. It can also be regarded as the forefather of today’s carbon or fiberglass reinforced plastic materials, as similar to them, this is a composite whose composition, layer order, thickness—virtually every feature can be adjusted to the given function.
It’s not a semi-finished board material or slats that are shaped subsequently with steaming, just like in the case of the Thonet furniture also enjoying wide popularity here, in Hungary, but a material that is bent to a shape required by the function right from the start. This entails a lot less waste and thus bears a lot lighter load on the environment than solid wood.
Thus, as the 21st-century version of solid wood, plywood is an ideal solution for us to be able to enjoy the warmth of wood in the future (in addition to having a more than a hundred-year-long past and who knows how long its career will last in the future).
Source of photos:
Photo 1: De Havilland Mosquito, Source: millerarchitects.net
Photo 2: De Havilland DH.115 Vampire cockpit, Source: acesflyinghigh.wordpress.com
Photo 3: Wood veneer sheets, Source: Plydesign
Photo 4: Selection of wood veneer sheets, Source: Plydesign
Photo 5: The process of pressing plywood, Source: Plydesign
Photo 6: Thonet chairs, Source: Vegesack, Alexander von: Thonet. Bent wood and tubular furniture. Budapest: Cser Kiadó, 2009.
Photo 7: FLAGSHIP chairs with armrests with a MOTHERSHIP dining table, Source: Plydesign
In our bi-weekly series, we share fun facts about the past, present and future of plywood on the apropos of the PLY DESIGN HOUSE 2021 open call. Deadline for application: July 31, 2021. Check Plydesign‘s official website for more information!