Explorations in Folding Felt

B66 Chair, Side Table


During my time with Wasatch Design Collective we were working under a grant from NASA and the National Science Foundation to research innovative applications of compliant mechanisms and folding techniques.

I used this opportunity to explore the folding properties of exotic materials, wool felt in particular. I became interested in the way that felt behaves when folded in gentle curves, the volumes that could be created from single flat pieces, and the structural traits that felt inherently has.



Through a long series of form studies I eventually arrived at what would become the B66 Chair. I found that by impregnating one side of the felt with polyester resin I could maintain enough pliability to make the folds, but gain enough structure due to the inherent compressional strength of cylinders to easily support weight.

Using a strap to fasten the petals and a birch ring to maintain the circular base, the otherwise hollow chair made for a lightweight accent chair that could be easily and repeatedly be folded and unfolded. I then applied the same concept to a companion cork-top table.



Explorations in Folding Felt

B67 Chair

The progression of my experiments led me to look at methods of attaching felt to itself. I wanted to take what I had learned from the B66 Chair and simplify the assembly process to make it as fast and easy as possible to transform from a flat material to a dimensional object.

The solution I arrived at was simple enough – zippers. Or to be exact, one zipper. I found that I could create a chair with the same structural properties as the B66 chair using a single zipper sewn around the perimeter of the felt pattern. With this discovery, The B67 Chair was born.




Explorations in Folding Felt

Packet Bags

Intrigued by the possibilities of using zippers to quickly assemble form, I began looking at other ways to apply what I had learned. 

I wanted to explore additional functionality that could be found by using a zipper to fold a flat material.

I soon realized that this technique had great potential with bags and backpacks, which already heavily rely on zippers. I could not only simplify the construction of the bag, but could add functionality by allowing multiple sides to be opened, or unfolded completely.

The design process involved over a dozen pattern iterations and prototypes, material testing, sewing, and lots of accidental finger pricks before arriving at a direction I was happy with.

The double zipper pulls allows the bag to be opened from the top, side, bottom, or unfolded completely, and can accommodate a 17” laptop.

Featured on Design Milk.

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Wasatch Design Collective was invited to exhibit a selection of our work, including the Packet Bag, at DesignMarch 2015 in Reykjavík, Iceland.