Wood-Skin - flexible wood

Wood is the material very present in our lives. We find it in furniture, flooring, doors, windows, decorative objects. It can be used inside the home or outside. It has long been, and for many of us still is, the first choice when it comes to flooring, furniture, homes. But solid wood has its limitations. Despite its many uses and beauty, solid wood is rigid, fix. It can be shaped by cutting or heat treatment, but designers and architects at Wood-Skinfrom Milan, wanted more. They wanted a flexible wood that would give them the chance for new creations, new possibilities.

flexible wood

Wood-Skin came about in 2013, when an enthusiastic and talented team thought they could give wood flexibility by combining it with fabric and advanced computer techniques. The result is a material that looks like a wooden board that can be shaped into three-dimensional forms. The material has huge potential, and can be used for cladding walls and ceilings, making furniture or exterior facades. Shaping flexible wood leads to shapes that remind us of origami, where wood is used instead of paper.

The wood used to obtain the new material is a tackle special. It is cut with great precision into triangles using computer-controlled machines (CNC), which are well known in the wood industry for their precision cuts. Basically, the cutting instructions are stored in the machine's computer and the machine makes the cuts. Intricate patterns can be produced that can be reproduced identically thousands of times. Plywood allows a huge range of veneers to be used with a wide variety of natural designs and colourings, so the material is also a great aesthetic gain.

These cuts create a kind of "hinge" that allows the plywood to fold like the paper used for origami. Thus, a fairly stiff material with limited flexibility like plywood gains much greater flexibility through this cutting.

flexible wood

flexible wood

flexible wood

flexible wood

Flexible wood can be a material for the future. The many possibilities for perfect CNC cutting, the special woods that can be used and the special finishes with which it can be coated make it a very viable option.


About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.

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