Lapella 01
© Gothamfotografia
Lapella 02
© Gothamfotografia
Lapella 03
© Gothamfotografia


Our computational research team,, worked with Zaha Hadid Architects, New Fundamentals Research Group and stone fabricator Generelli SA on the design of a contemporary chair, reinterpreting an iconic 1963 design by Hans J. Wegner.

We retained the design of the original whilst employing contemporary techniques and materials to create ‘Lapella’ as part of our research into expressive geometries that utilise lightweight material and structural performance, an approach to furniture design from an architectural and structural engineering perspective.

While the original chair was envisaged in steam-bent plywood, we utilised Palissandro Marble from Italy reinforced with carbon fibre. This allowed us to harness stone’s compressive properties and the carbon fibre’s tensile properties.

To enable the parallel study of multiple loading configurations on an evolving design, structural analysis was delivered using our in-house parametric interoperability solution, Re.AKT. The analysis, and feedback with the Generelli SA, informed and incrementally improved design parameters to address stone tolerances, curvature thresholds and mass distribution. At the same time, the design was modified via dynamic relaxation to minimise effects of bending within the form itself. The resulting optimised form demonstrates the thinnest and lightest structure capable under the given constraints.

Lounge chair of marble and carbon fibre, approaching furniture design from an engineering perspective


Zaha Hadid Architects