The Swedish furniture giant IKEA has recently introduced to the world a new method of furniture-building. The new PS 2017 armchair was created by an entirely digital process known as 3D-knitting.
The 3D-knitting process isn’t itself brand new. The technology has been around for a few years now, and is most commonly associated with footwear, like Nike’s Flyknit sneaker. IKEA, however, has repurposed the technique, adopting it within the furniture industry.
Obviously, knitting isn’t a brand new production method either; historians and archeologists believe that it has been around since the 11th century. Regular, modern-day hand knitting uses three basic types of knitting needles, including the “pin” style, double pointed, and circular needles. But now, with all of the incredible advancements in technology, those plain old needles are no longer necessary. Clothing and other textiles can now be produced extremely quickly and efficiently with machines. Consequently, hand knitting has become less useful as a life skill. Most knitters today consider it a hobby.
Transcending beyond the garment industry, 3D-knitting is gaining popularity as an effective method that generates high-quality products. IKEA’s new armchair was created by in-house designer Sarah Fager, who said of the production method:
“At IKEA we have been curious about this 3D-knitting technique for some time. We have all seen it being used in those colorful sneakers and it’s a really smart way to produce things, since it’s fully automized and this knitting machine can be placed at any supplier to combine it with other materials in a product.”
The PS 2017 armchair is an attractive, lightweight, and durable piece of furniture. The stretchy fabric mimics a hammock and is designed to be semi-transparent to give any living space a sense of “airy openness and space.” It will be available at IKEA stores in early 2017 for a price of $158.