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Designer Builds Furniture Using Only Forces of Tension, No Nails At All

Contemporary furniture designer Robby Cuthbert combines architectural principles and organic forms in his sculptural pieces. Coffee tables, lamps, shelves, and seats are carefully crafted with wood and steel cables depending on principles of tensegrity (or tension integrity). The results are pieces of light and airy modern furniture.

And just what’s tensegrity? A term coined by famous American architect Buckminster Fuller, tensegrity structures rely on an overall balance of anxiety to produce stability.

Applying this theory, the Palo Alto-based furniture designer does not rely on screws, glue, and nails to hold together his furniture. The sections are engineered to perfection, with tension balanced in the steel cables or cantilevered to an individual point. With each tensegrity structure representing a mixture of practical furniture and graphics that is refined, it is no wonder that Cuthbert studied studio art with a draw toward architecture and sculpture.

“ I generate organic and architectural forms, commonly having a hint of whimsical or the fantastical, that analyze the role of pressure in the storing and release of energy,” Cuthbert shares. “With wire and wood as my primary substances, I’ve played with the trace of pent up energy held in check by forces that were opposing.

Cuthbert’s cutting edge furniture can be found via his website, and he’s also available for commission work.

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