Designers from ECAL create sustainable sponge furniture that grows itself

Designers from Swiss-based ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne presented sponge furniture that “grows” itself at Milan Design Week in late April 2024. With a view to optimising transport and promoting sustainability, while retaining functionality and aesthetics, UPS – Under Pressure Solutions presents a suite of lightweight furniture and objects made from cellulose sponge, a biodegradable and renewable material.
Inspired by Italian architect-designer Gaetano Pesce’s UP5 chair (1969), made from polyurethane foam that self-expands when unpacked. UPS was initially an applied research project. After a meticulous process of selecting materials, the team opted for cellulose sponge. Made from wood residues, this material has remarkable properties: it is biodegradable and expands ten times its initial size on contact with moisture.
The Milan exhibition presented the process and results of this project as well as everyday objects created by Master’s students in Product Design and the research team. It demonstrates the school’s commitment to fostering innovation and creativity in design and reveals exciting prospects for sustainable furniture design.

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