“Piao II is a chair fashioned out of paper and a grid of bamboo strips, following the traditional craft of Chinese lantern making. Applying this technique allows the chair to be surprisingly strong and durable, yet also thin and lightweight - a true paper chair. ”




  —— Designer,Piao II  Lei Zhang





work name|Piao II
design director|Christoph John、Jovana Zhang、张雷
material|bamboo, rice paper, beech wood
material research|Róng Design Library

The Piao II paper chair is a contemporary interpretation of two outstanding traditional Chinese crafts – paper umbrella - and lantern making. The umbrella craft stood as the main inspiration of combining layers of paper with each other. The technique applied on traditional lanterns was the base for the final material selection and the production. Paper and thin bamboo strings are two natural and fragile materials; in combination with each other they are able to generate a solid and durable seating shell. The finished chair remains thin and light according to its core material – bamboo paper.


The main inspiration for the PIAO paper chair was the traditional Chinese paper umbrella. The research of this one traditional item was one part of a big research project about local crafts and materials from Yuhang. During the analysis of this product we picked out some interesting details which inspired us to create some contemporary design works.

For example the process of gluing paper to the bamboo frame work of the umbrella was a very interesting moment to us. From this point we thoughted we can glue paper layers onto each other, supported by a mold with out any other supporting frame work. We wanted to see if that could provide us a solid shell. It turned out to be a successful experiment. So in the end we turned a very fragile and soft material into a solid and durable shape.


During the development of this contemporary design piece we wanted to save some material, some time and actually some time. Another quite interesting and ancient craft helped us to find a proper solution. The craft comes from the chinese paper lantern making. We combined paper with very thin and filigree bamboo strings, woven into a grid.


This technique we applied in several layers. In that way the chair becomes much lighter and even slightly transparent.


The first edition of the Piao paper chair we just used paper, but we needed many many layers in order to create a durable solid shell. But now by combinating these two materials we save weight and time. Now the design fulfills the idea of being a paper chair much better.


The two main materials of the chair are bamboo paper and beech wood. The upper seating shell is kept quite simple as a main shape, and as a very strong characteristic we left the paper edge very free and open. Its not just a decorative element but also a haptic experience which is at the same time kind of communicating the way the chair is done.

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