Concrete is not something you would immediately associate with flexibility and comfort, especially when applied to chairs and tables. The material is great for making outdoor furniture that stays in place until it is damaged beyond use and repair. They usually also have fixed formats, considering they’re not the easiest things to move or change anyway. But that means losing the opportunity to break expectations and push the limits of what you can do with the material. Fortunately, concrete’s tough temper doesn’t easily intimidate everyone, and this modular stool system shows what’s possible once you start playing around with shapes, colors and materials.
Designers: one J, Jeongjin Ko, Jinsu Du, Keetae Kim (Superkomma)
In its most basic configuration, the CONECTO stool looks like any ordinary cylindrical stool with a colored top. However, this is an illusion, given that the seemingly entire concrete base is actually two half-cylinders joined on their flat sides. You can accept how this “half-shape” can be used in a modular way, but they can become the building blocks of larger stools that can accommodate more people at once, almost like LEGO.
Joining the two halves on their curved sides allows a square “cover” to be placed on top for a more traditional stool. Putting a half-cylinder on one side stretches it out a bit for a more comfortable arrangement, but adding another half-cylinder on the opposite side creates a rectangular row. On the other hand, if you put three solid cylinders together in a triangle, you can have a bench that can seat up to three people.
Part of CONECTO’s modularity is thanks to the acrylic top that brings the different parts together. This material also creates a striking contrast with the concrete base, creating a visually interesting outdoor furniture design. Where the concrete is cold, raw and rough, the translucent acrylic surface is softer, colorful and vibrant. The stool, alone or with others, provides a mix of brutality and minimalism that can attract people to look at or even sit.
CONECTO’s design concept aims at sustainability from the very beginning, using high-strength UHPC concrete that does not contain harmful components. In the future, it is planned to create an ecosystem that is free from both flexibility and negative effects on the environment by making use of recycled waste materials.