Around the Bend

A Study of Self-Shaping Wood

Jasper Ohainski

April / April - 2023

Kunsthochschule Kassel



During my research for my diploma thesis, I came across the technology of “self-forming wood”, which the University of Stuttgart has been researching and developing. The approach is derived from nature – how the scales of pine cones open in warm weather, for example – and works skilfully with the material properties of wood while drying. The double-layered material produced for this purpose bends almost naturally. In my work, I pursued this material-technological novelty from the perspective of product design. After many experiments to understand and manipulate the material, a lounger was created to further communicate this new technology and its possibilities. Self-forming wood combined with a steel frame resulted in a form fit without the need for external fittings after the drying process. To achieve this, the wood was inserted into the frame in a dry and straight state. During the subsequent drying process at room temperature, the wood bent until it reached its final shape.