alberto meda's carbon fiber chairs for alias weight only 1 kg

alberto meda's carbon fiber chairs for alias weight only 1 kg

halfway through the 1980s, alberto meda, who had recently left his post as technical director of kartell, began to experiment with carbon fiber to investigate possible uses of composite technology in creating everyday objects. the industrial designer collaborated with italian design company alias to produce an extremely lightweight set of chairs: lightlight in 1987; and softlight in 1989. the chairs were produced in nomex®, a composite ‘honeycomb’ type of polyamide, and unidirectional carbon fabric coverings – usually utilized to make strong, light components for the aerospace, racing sectors and most recently in the sporting world (tennis rackets, skis and fishing poles). in these industries it pays to manufacture products that are light and resistant.

all images courtesy of alberto meda, header right image courtesy of phillips



alberto meda‘s idea of the chairs came from experimental research on the technology of composites to investigate possible uses of it in creating everyday objects. designed for alias, lightlight and softlight chairs were manufactured using this process and were among the first applications of composite materials in the furnishing industry. 50 prototypes were produced of the lightlight chair, each of which weighting only 1 kg. this model is now part of the permanent collection of the museum of modern art, new york and the indianapolis museum of art.


‘lightness makes us dream, its secret cannot be revealed. lightness leads to unpredictable solutions.’

alberto meda's carbon fiber chairs for alias weight only 1 kg



‘I have always been against the idea of the engineer as a person concerned only with technical matters,’ says the milan-based designer. ‘engineers are not generally expected to have an aesthetic attitude; and I suppose this limitation stems from the kind of training they get, whereby an engineer’s job is to deal with production processes, calculations and structures…I have always found that unacceptable and rebelled against it, because it means separating thinking from doing…it wasn’t easy to get myself accepted as a designer because until then everybody had thought of me only as a consultant or technologist.’

alberto meda's carbon fiber chairs for alias weight only 1 kgalberto meda's carbon fiber chairs for alias weight only 1 kg

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    design news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    504,062 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine