If you’re considering buying or making plywood chairs, you definitely need to see these six great examples.
Plywood is such a versatile material. It is strong and stable, with very little wood movement due to it’s cross-grained layers.
It can be cheap to buy, although if you go for higher-end, furniture grade plywood — the costs can begin to add up. That said, furniture grade ply will give you a fantastic end result.
Here, we’ll take a look at six stunning plywood chairs. Some are by iconic designers, while others were designed by lesser known, but extremely talented people.
If you’re considering a plywood project, then one of these great designs could be exactly the thing to get your creative juices flowing.
6 Plywood Chair Designs You Should Know About
1. DCW PLYWOOD CHAIR — CHARLES & RAY EAMES
Designed by Charles & Ray Eames in 1945, the duo had spent many years experimenting with new processes for optimizing the way three-dimensionally moulded plywood fits the contours of the body. They produced designs with plywood shaped in a way that hadn’t been seen before. Comfort and functionality was at the forefront of their thoughts when they designed this chair. However it is also a beautifully designed chair. It is simple, clean, and elegant. The DCW has become a design icon.
2. P9L LOUNGE CHAIR — ALEJANDRO PALANDJOGLOU
The P9L Lounge Chair has subtle nods to the plywood designs of the Eames’. I consider this to be more like a modern day version of the DCW (above), and one that is accessible to all. The designer Alejandro Palandjoglou admits as much when speaking about the piece; “One of my favorite chair designs is Eames LCW molded plywood lounge chair. It’s a design classic and the fine detailed surfacing work is incredible as well as comfortable. It has been a source of inspiration for quite a lot of my furniture and in this case while using a completely different technology I was able to resemble his masterpiece.” Made using a CNC Router, the plans are available for download on instructables.com. It would be far easier to have a CNC machine cut one of these chairs for you than to try to mould something like the Eames DCW. It could even be made without a CNC if you so wished.
Credit: Alejandro Palandjoglou
3. SHELL CHAIR CH07 — HANS J. WEGNER
It’s clear that this design was ahead of its time. When it was released in 1963 it wasn’t exactly an instant success. It took until 1998 when it was reintroduced before it gained the widespread acclaim it deserves. Whether this is a plywood design or not is up for debate. The elements are continuous laminated hardwood plys, giving it a flowing lightness. The three-legged design makes for a very stable chair with a distinctive look. It certainly has a unique style, with a warm inviting shape that makes you want to sit into it.
Credit: Carl Hansen
4. MODÈLE DÉPOSÉ — TIM DEFLEUR
Made from simple CNC machined panels, these designs are simple, modern, and elegant. Modèle Déposé is a collection of three different shapes of chair, a console, and a coffee table. This simplicity looks easy to design, but constantly stripping back to achieve these refined forms takes perseverance and patience. The way the chairs slot together so simply are a lesson to us all in how simply furniture can be made. Many woodworkers, myself included, can have a tendency to over complicate what we design and make. Tim Defleur has given us a lesson in simplicity and elegance.
Credit: Tim Defleur
5. SPLINE CHAIR — UNTO THIS LAST
This method of chair construction has gained in popularity with the new found affordability of CNC machines. It is now realistic that you could find some sort of CNC technology in any woodwork shop you walk into, regardless how small. There has been a quiet revolution in digital fabrication in recent years. Companies like the London based Unto This Last are pioneering a new sort of manufacturing business that can use technology to produce beautiful and cost-effective designs. This type of chair lends itself very well to digital fabrication. Two interestingly shaped sides provide the framework for ribbed laths which make up this charming plywood chair design.
Credit: Unto This Last
6. RIBBE CHAIR — PLYWOOD PROJECT
Okay, so this chair isn’t exactly going to win any design awards for innovation, but it is notable that a company should choose to manufacture all their furniture products from plywood. Polish company Plywood Project are behind the “Ribbe Chair”. This is a very simple everyday chair. You would often see similar style designs made in some form of softwood. However, using plywood means that components can be more easily CNC machined to produce a more cost effective chair.
Credit: Plywood Project
Plywood is an incredible material to design and work with. The possibilities for creativity from a simple 8′ x 4′ sheet are endless. Cabinets and tables seem the obvious thing to make from plywood, but as we’ve seen here, a little imagination can go a long way to produce stunning chair designs. Hopefully these six great examples will spark your inventiveness if planning your very own plywood project.
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