With a founding principle that great spaces inspire great work, Coalesse makes products for workplaces to help facilitate better social connections and creative collaboration. A belief that work evolves into a hub of modern culture, the company serves up furniture and storage solutions for today’s contemporary workspace. One of its most inventive offerings of late, the LessThanFive Chair provides a unique solution for a variety of applications. In a one-on-one with Coalesse, i+s was able to get a first-hand look at the inspiration, development, and distinctive details of the innovative seating option.
When was LessThanFive developed?
The LessThanFive Chair took several years of research + development and engineering before it officially launched in February 2016.
How did the name for the product come about?
The LessThanFive Chair is just that—a carbon fiber chair that weighs less than five pounds.
Who designed the LessThanFive Chair?
Coalesse Design Group and Michael Young.
What was the inspiration behind it?
Inspiration came from a variety of sources related to the industries that were pushing the limits of carbon fiber: bikes, planes, cars, and sporting equipment. Though the true inspiration was delivered by a challenge put forth by the CEO of the company to better understand this material and how it could impact our products in the future.
What was the biggest hurdle in bringing the LessThanFive Chair to life?
It was a new material, a new supply chain, a new testing process, and with such we had to develop new ways to bring the solution to market. We also had many hurdles with how we think about our products and what our customers’ expectations are for them, what the business model would need to be to make this viable, and then how we could offer the solution in new ways that our customers would value.
How was the initial response to LessThanFive?
Overwhelmingly positive—surprise and delight with an added layer of desire to have one.
What is the most impressive project the LessThanFive Chair has found its way into?
The offering is so young that it seems every project we hear about is new and impressive in different ways, from higher education to industry; Europe, Asia, and the Americas; executive suites to racing yachts.
What is your hope for the product?
That the people who specify and use the chair will find as much delight in using it as we found in the process of creating it, and that our learnings about the material will influence other projects we are currently working on. Also that this is only the first in a series that will become a lasting part of our portfolio.
Are there any changes to the LessThanFive Chair on the horizon?
We have developed some concepts that continue our exploration into what carbon fiber can do and how we might use it. We are continuing to advance the ways in which you can customize the finishing of it, and we hope to leverage our learnings from the market response to iterate the product in the future.
What’s something people don’t know about LessThanFive?
The LessThanFive Chair is made from 1,323 meters (4,340.5 feet) of carbon thread; there are 175 different pieces of carbon fiber that need to layup in the correct position to make one chair. It takes a total of seven people and 25 hours to complete the production of a chair.