‘R18 ultra chair’ designed by clemens weisshaar and reed kram image © tom vack




designed by clemens weisshaar and reed kram in collaboration with the AUDI lightweight design centre, the ‘R18 ultra chair‘ is a furniture piece designed as an experiment in technology transfer from the research behind the AUDI ‘R18’ le mans racecar.


designboom originally published this article as a preview on april 13th, but we’ve just updated with new images, information, and an interview with designer clemens weisshaar, following our visit to the ‘R18 ultra chair’ public beta installation during milan design week 2012. the exhibition comprised an interactive installation of the ‘R18’ chair and other experimental furniture concepts, held at the palazzo clerici as part of domus’s exhibition ‘the future in the making‘.

AUDI R18 ultra chair filming the tests image © designboom




the video from our testing session has been uploaded, SEE the performance here.


in the ‘R18 ultra chair’ itself, developed in collaboration with AUDI research teams, a carbon-fibre seat with carbon rubber backrest is paired upon aluminum alloy legs. the piece is collapsible, allowing components to be packed flat for shipping, offering an 80% decrease in shipping volume and thus saving energy and costs.


during the ‘public beta exhibition’ developed by clemens weisshaar and reed kram for milan design week, AUDI opened the testing process to the general public, equipping the prototype chair with industrial sensors connected to a central server. as an individual sits in the chair, information about the flow of forces from his or her weight is depicted on visualization screens throughout the space, and available to the person by e-mail as a personal, shareable video. the data will also be used by AUDI in optimization efforts to streamline the chair’s construction.


slideshow of images from the exhibition at milan design week, as designer clemens weisshaar discusses the project video and all images © designboom




in an interview with designboom, clemens weisshaar explained that the public testing was designed to collect two kinds of data: scientific information about the dynamic loads of human weight on the chair, including stress and strain; and a character study of the way in which people sit. the over 100 industrial sensors utilized in the project are typically used in the construction and monitoring of naval craft.

AUDI R18 ultra chair hundreds of people sat in the chair over the course of the week, offering a large data set for use in optimizing the construction


AUDI R18 ultra chair full view of chair during the public beta testing installation image © designboom


AUDI R18 ultra chair full view of chair image © tom vack -->

AUDI R18 ultra chair detail on the sensing components along the back of the chair image © designboom


AUDI R18 ultra chair detail on wiring of the prototype image © designboom


AUDI R18 ultra chair detail on panels image © designboom


AUDI R18 ultra chair underside view of seat base image © designboom



the ‘R18 ultra chair’ installation at palazzo clerici is comprised of the chair itself, equipped with 100 industrial force sensors; a signal conditioning system to capture and amplify the input; and a realtime screen-based visualization system. all of the data obtained from the exhibition will be utilized towards streamlining the chair’s construction, and a final version is to be presented in december 2012.


the ‘ultra’ line of which the ‘R18’ chair is a part is a design paradigm established by AUDI, governing the development, construction, and transportation of materials and products. lightweight construction, state-of-the-art technology, life cycle efficiency, and recyclability are all considered in the strategy.

AUDI R18 ultra chair the exhibition at palazzo clerici during milan design week 2012 image © tom vack


AUDI R18 ultra chair the chair adopts technology originally designed for the ‘R18 le mans racecar’, which was also on show at the public beta installation image © designboom



clemens weisshaar explains the purpose in the project of collecting this data video © designboom


AUDI R18 ultra chair concept render of the ‘R18 ultra chair public beta installation’, palazzo clerici, milan design week 2012 image © kram/weisshaar



AUDI R18 ultra chair chair parts and sensor comonents image © kram/weisshaar


AUDI R18 ultra chair clemens weisshaar and reed kram, designers of the ‘R18 ultra chair’, pose wearing their ‘designboom’ pins portrait © designboom