Memories of the Future: Self Assembling Furniture

It is the end of the flat-pack furniture era; say goodbye to the tears and tantrums surrounding the assembly of furniture in your own home and say hello to the ultimate smart foam technology which needs no hammer…

How does it work?

Belgian designer and engineer Carl de Smet has been experimenting with a new kind of smart foam technology which can expand to any given design, by itself, whilst you enjoy the comforts of your own home.

Using special shape memory polyurethane foam, de Smet first pours the material into a mould of the desired shape. Now this shape memory foam does exactly as advertised on the tin: after being removed from the mould, the foam retains the memory of this shape even after it’s been reheated, reshaped and compressed to about 5% of its original size!

Following ‘the flattening’, as we’ll call it, you’re left with a small, packaged, piece of furniture. Not only is this easier to transport, thanks to the light weight nature of polyurethane foam, what’s more is that your new item of furniture cannot arrive to your house damaged, even after travelling the most disastrous of roads, because of the fact that the foam repairs itself by always maintaining the memory of the original programmed shape!

When the nice, neatly packed parcel does finally reach your home, there’s nothing to it. The material simply needs to be heated; warming up the polyurethane foam allows it to expand into the shape of the designer’s original mould. A few minutes later, the chair has cooled, et voila, it’s ready to make your life more comfortable. Impressive, no?

When can you get your hands on it?

After ten years of work, de Smet’s design was formally unveiled at this week’s Milan Design Week festival. Though he is currently working with scaled-down models, de Smet will soon use this amazing technology to achieve the same effect with full-size furniture. If all goes as planned, according to de Smet, shape memory polyurethane foam furniture could decorate your home in about a year’s time!

Alternative applications?

While the idea of applying this technology to furniture is exciting enough as it is it doesn’t end there. The possibilities for using this innovative polyurethane foam are seemingly endless: de Smet hinted that he is already in talks with the automotive sector about incorporating the new material. Even more inspiring, the foam could be used in creating essential goods needed by people struck by natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes – shape memory foam items could easily be dropped by plane and remain undamaged! It may be early days but we’re excited! Watch this space!

Don’t believe us? Check out the video for yourself here:

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