Audi Fuses Automotive and Furniture Design at DM/12

A scaled model of the R18 Ultra Chair installation at Design Miami/ 2012

Weighing just less than 5 pounds, the R18 Ultra Chair is at the forefront of lightweight furniture. Designed by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram, the sleek and sharply angled chair was developed in collaboration with Audi’s Lightweight Design Center. Design Miami/ 2012 is pleased to feature the chair’s team of designers and engineers, who will be offering an intimate look at the production of this groundbreaking work.

The chair is named after the Audi R18 Ultra, the winning car of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race held in France. The race is a grueling 24-hour test of endurance for both driver and car requiring supreme mechanical ability. Audi, the exclusive automotive sponsor of Design Miami/ since 2006, unveiled the R18 Ultra this year to serious accolades. The racecar was created with the intention of shaving off every unneeded ounce in order to compensate for its Hybrid engine, using architecture and material science to accomplish and further its goal.

A cardboard model of the R18 Ultra Chair

Kram and Weisshaar developed the R18 chair with this goal in mind. Crowd-sourced data was drawn from thousands of testing sessions at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in April of this year to develop the geometrically stunning shape of the final product. The designers are considered some of the best in the world, and have been called “the vanguard of the next generation of digital designers” by FORM Magazine, and “the poster boys of a new breed of designers” by the International Herald Tribune. Their work is included in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the designers were awarded Design Miami’s Designers of the Future Award in 2008.

The space-frame of the chair was made using carbon composites that were integral in the design of the R18 Ultra racecar. The engineering principles applied to the design aim for optimized efficiency in both shape and material. The unveiling of the chair at Design Miami/ 2012 will include a detailed look at the process of creating it, and will include models, mock-ups, an industrial welding robot, and the Audi R18 Ultra racecar itself.

A snapshot of the crowd-sourced tests used to design the R18 Ultra Chair

- Rob Goyanes

Categories / 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi, Kram/ Weisshaar, R18 Ultra Chair