Using a strap to tie things together is not a new idea and interestingly many of the products featured in this post have their roots in traditional crafts techniques and ideas. Just strapping a few bits and bobs together this ain’t. Its partly about learning from the past but also out of necessity and practicality, applying a simple device to create a useful functional ethical product.
Simon Hasan has used leather straps to hold integral parts of his work together. The welded box of the cabinet is held onto the oak stand and the cushion on the stool is held in place by the use of leather straps that have been boiled to give them strength.
His work was inspired by reading about the technique of boiling leather (cuir bouilli) that turns soft mallable leather into a much harder material without the use of any resin or other chemical treatments. The strength and durability of the leather is such that this medieval process was used for armour and drinking vessels. Simon has combined this process with another ancient crafting skill that is wood cleaving.
Chairless byAlejandro Aravena for Vitra. Again taking inspiration from the ancient , Alejandro’s strap is an idea developed from the Ayoreo Indians of South America. Aimed at the “modern nomad” its very light and easy to pack down and is meant to by used when chairs are in short supply.The strap takes the strain and relieves the back and legs, and keeps your hands free for reading, eating, tinkering on you laptop etc. I’m sure this will be hugely copied, anyone going to a music festival in the next year will suddenly see them everywhere. They do take a bit of practice so it could be entertaining watching people getting tangled, rolling around….
Bungee straps, those super strong stretchy bands loved by the camping and trekking fraternity to attach all manner of necessities to the car or bike have also been appropriated by designers .
Blow Sofa by Malafor. It is an environmental product; made from 100% recyclable dunnage bags, the inflateable bags sit on a frame held together by bungee straps. It looks a little precarious to sit on, but as long as its not over inflated its rather comfy. The bags are paper covered so you could add your own doodled design to them.
Lukas Franciszkiewicz’ Stool FRNKWZ* also uses a steel frame as its base with a black bungee strap to hold the square cushion in place. The sense of instability from the straps is offset by the structure of the pyramid steel frame – theres a bit of give in it but its not going to slip off.
Mugrosita by Liliana Ovalle took inspiration for her work from the way street vendors in Mexico City held their stalls and tangled bags of merchandise together by straps and knots. The wooden frame of the couch is overlaid with a serise of beanbags secured by ropes.
Autarky by Studio Formafantasma shown in Milan at Spazio Rossana Orlandi follows on from their work mentioned in my Earth post. Again using natural materials to create the vessels the strap is used to hold things that accompany the meal either spoons, bread or biscuits.