An unprecedented product created from
a versatile new material
At YOY, we aspire to see the products that originate from our ideas spread and be taken up in society at large. We therefore use
versatile materials for our products. In this project, we have selected STABiO™ elastic polyurethane, which does not deteriorate when exposed to light. It is not susceptible to yellowing, and it may be used as a surface material in its transparent or white state.
Normally, resins are perceived as hard. However, we had the idea of creating soft furniture on the basis of its softness and elasticity. At almost the same time, we came up with the idea of a hollow cushion. It looks like a cushion made of lace fabric, but in fact, there is nothing inside it. However, it has elasticity as a cushion. We came up with this idea, but at the beginning we had no idea how to make it into a tangible object. The only thing we were aware of was that integration between the material, the structure and the design would be essential to the creation of the object.
We created a mockup and asked Mitsui Chemicals to undertake structural calculations. We therefore created a structure using the motif of hand-woven lace. We then undertook trial and error to adjust the hardness, thickness, and structure of the resin and the surface design. With the aim of making the texture into the main feature of the product, we performed fine modeling on our own to create molds for prototyping. Finally, we joined the parts removed from the molds to produce a hollow cushion.
Knowledge of materials can only be obtained from experience. In this project, in particular, we created it together with Mitsui Chemicals, which has extensive knowledge of materials. This helped us to overcome issues that we could not resolve alone, and to acquire new knowledge. In the future, we will identify problems with the current production in a bid to brush it up with a view toward future commercialization.
- Mock-up under consideration
- YOY Works「CANVAS」
- YOY Works「LIGHT」
- YOY Works「PEEL」
About the material
We selected STABiO™ as the material for creating the LACE cushion. It provided significant technical challenges.
The material was required to have three features. The first was transparency to accentuate its whiteness; the second was hardness to stabilize the form without stuffing, and the third was softness or elasticity to provide resistance when pushed.
Each of these is an advantage of polyurethane, but it was difficult to achieve all three of them at the same time with conventional models.
Hardened material causes the cushion-like feel to deteriorate. Softness causes the product to fail to maintain its form and to be flattened. It is sufficiently thin to express the lace and the design with a space results in the uneven distribution of strength.
In this project, STABiO™ was adopted to capitalize on its characteristics and to successfully create the product in a structure designed to achieve the two contradictory features of hardness and softness. It was a result of maximizing the appeal of the material with the concept of the LACE cushion.
Developed by Mitsui Chemicals ahead of any other company in the world, STABiO™ has many different characteristics that are not available in existing polyurethane materials. Its applications are expanding to coating materials, adhesives, foams, glass lenses and soft gels. It adds a wide variety of functions and feels to different products, ranging from hard items to soft items.
When used in coating materials, it helps to repair minor scratches on the surface. Although conventional urethane coating materials have the issue of deterioration after coming into contact with powerful chemicals, it resolves the problem with enhanced chemical resistance.
When it is used as foam material, such as for cushions for sofas, it differs from existing urethane in that it does not turn yellow and it has a softer feel.
In the form of a gel, it has a peculiar softness and high repulsion that differ from those of silicone. These properties accelerate the development of the material in applications where a new texture is sought.
In addition, its environmentally friendly features cannot be overlooked. It is derived from plants. With its high level of reactivity, it shortens the coating and adhesion process and improves productivity in different industries to reduce CO2 emissions.
Please keep a close watch on the future that will be created by STABiO™, which has been created using the organic synthesis technology that Mitsui Chemicals has cultivated for years.
In this project, YOY’s two creators paid attention to STABiO™’s unique texture and its transfer characteristics. To be honest, I was bewildered when I heard their unexpected idea of a cushion without stuffing.
They took advantage of the feature that enables the control of softness and a high level of transfer. With their persistent attitude, which is typical of YOY, they produced individual fibers to create a new expression of texture. A product with an experience value that is understood by looking at it and touching it has been invented.
STABiO™ has only just been developed and commercialized, and it has many different characteristics. We believe that an attractive new feature was added to it through this project. We would be extremely pleased if a large number of people could feel STABiO™ and experience the appeal of this new material. We would also like to express our gratitude to Sanko for its cooperation with production and to Ms. Yasuko Furukawa for completing this account with her beautiful photographs.
- About STABiO™：https://jp.mitsuichemicals.com/en/service/packaging/coatings/stabio/index.htm
- About Mitsui Chemicals：https://jp.mitsuichemicals.com/en/
- YOY / design studio
- YOY is a design studio that was jointly founded in 2011 by Naoki Ono, a spatial designer, and Yuki Yamamoto, a product designer. It produces works on the theme of design between spaces and objects. Its works are sold at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and around the world, and the studio has won numerous awards in Japan and overseas. The two designers have been part-time teachers at Musashino Art University since 2015. In April 2016, YOY held a private exhibition in Milan.
- Design／Naoki Ono, Yuki Yamamoto
- Photo／Yasuko Furukawa