"The concept of lightness is very interesting to me," writes Spain-based architect/designer Andrés Mariño Maza. "I equate lightness to efficiency; for example the structural efficiency required for a bird to take flight, materialized in a hollow, highly optimized skeleton."
In his quest for lightness, Maza utilizes the steam-bending techniques used by boatbuilders to create furniture made from impossibly thin strips of material. Here's his Barlovento Stool, made from American Red Oak:
Here's a glimpse at Maza's production process, which starts with a five-axis CNC mill used to create the forms that the wood is clamped to:
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A side note about steam-bending:
When I was still living in New York, I was training in martial arts with a well-known TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) doctor. A patient had come to him complaining of chest pain; he'd seen multiple western doctors, they'd all run tests, and no one could figure out what was wrong with him.
Initially, the TCM doctor also could not find the cause of the patient's chest pain—until he found out what the patient did for a living. He made steam-bent furniture, spending much of the day pressing hot wooden strips into molds.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it's believed that the palms of the hand are internally linked to the heart, and the TCM doctor told the patient that spending all day scorching his palms was essentially superheating his heart and causing the pain. The patient changed his shop practices, and the pain went away.
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