Moby Chair

Moby makes use of familiar materials to create something unexpected.

These photos come from a workshop we created in partnership with the Children's Museum of the Arts in Tribeca, NYC. 

A special paper pulp chair

for kids

Moby Chair has won 2 major product design awards, including the IDSA Gold

Moby was designed with my good friend  Joonas Kyostila

How about some PROCESS, yes?

Joonas and I developed an interest in Molded Paper Pulp - a manufacturing process that transforms recycled waste paper into spanking new products. 

Our guiding question became: Could paper pulp be made into a valuable Consumer Product? Elevated beyond  a tray to carry your coffees or packaging to safely transport your eggs.

We took a trip to a Pulp Factory to see the process firsthand.

Our first investigation centered around the clothes hanger typology, which you can learn more about here. In NYC, we see so many wire dry-cleaner hangers in the public waste bins. How cool would it be if those things were biodegradable?

That design didn't work for obvious reasons, and thankfully the project kept evolving.

What could paper pulp do really well?

  • It gets strong when it's allowed to take up some volume, with strategic edges and corners

  • It's cheap

  • It's biodegradable

  • It's temporary - it simply isn't going to compete with plastic's durability

  • It looks kinda crappy

What audience might be interested in this stuff?

KIDS

Kids and kids' furniture offered a natural match for a consumer product made of paper pulp. 

Kids are growing, so they don't need the durability of a plastic chair. They're (typically) not fussy about aesthetics, and it's made of PAPER so you can draw on it.

The design centered around this idea that pretty much any form that has the right height and offers a spot to park your butt will naturally seem like a chair. Like a log next to a campfire, it's not a chair but it is a chair.

This gave us tremendous creative freedom to develop the chair's form.

We located a  Molded Paper Pulp factory that specialized in thick-walled paper pulp products. This technique would give us the durability we needed to have a compelling product. 

We won a $10,000 grant that enabled us to invest in tooling and samples of the Moby Chair design.

The folks at the factory loved this design and produced a generous quantity of samples.

TO THE STREETS!

Charlton Street to be precise, in Tribeca, NYC at the Children's Museum of the Arts  Summer Street Fair

Moby was a hit with the kids and our booth was swamped the whole day with budding artists unleashing their creative fury upon these fresh paper pulp canvases.

It turned into a glorious mess! And everybody had a great time.

Though not everyone made it out unscathed...

But it's nothing a little paint can't heal.

We made some friends at the street fair and they invited us up to their apartment on the Upper West Side to do some field research IN THE WILD.

These girls were energized, active, and creative, and Moby sparked a whole party in a small package that's friendly for a Manhattan apartment.

Moby was launched for sale in 2019.

You may buy two if you like.