The building industry relies on materials like metal and concrete for everything from insulation and soundproofing to load-bearing columns and roof cladding. And while few construction projects are aesthetic wonders, contemporary product designers are discovering new applications for these common materials and exploiting their properties on a smaller scale. The use of architectural materials for furniture can democratize product design and add a fresh array of possibilities to the discipline.


Maarten Kolk and Guus Kusters create Marmoleum benches

Maarten Kolk and Guus Kusters created the Bound stool and bench for Forbo using Marmoleum, a type of flooring that sparked their interest thanks to its multicoloured, stonelike appearance. They were intrigued by the prospect of giving spatial form to this particular flat material. The bench comprises three layers of Marmoleum wrapped around a length of chipboard, and the stool’s three layers cover a metal framework.


Teratoma Productions gives bollards a fresh purpose

Bollards are often used as barriers, but for Teratoma Productions they represent an opportunity for alternative urban design. Plug a Seat is a colourful collection of objects made from aluminium sheet. The pieces – available in different sizes – fit onto bollards, turning them into temporary seats and tables while repurposing both the posts and the material.


Panter&Tourron explores the luxurious potential of corrugated metal

Designed for Nov Gallery by Panter&Tourron, Tole is a furniture collection made from corrugated sheet metal, a material normally used in an architectural context. The simple forms explore the potential of an ordinary cladding material reduced to the scale of product design. Surfaces that are polished, anodized, lacquered or combined with marble add a touch of luxury to inexpensive aluminium sheet.


Konstantin Grcic applies architecture principles to make concrete look weightless


Inspired by the building principles of Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi, Konstantin Grcic came up with Magliana, a limited-edition modular table with built-in seating made entirely from reinforced concrete. The material increases the strength of the long dining table while reducing its weight and demonstrating the application of unembellished concrete to furniture design.

This article was originally published in Frame 119 – Welcome to the Responsive Workplace. For more design inspiration, check out other issues of Frame magazine.