Designing in one piece

Panton chair

There's something intriguing about products which are made out a single continuous material. They combine simplicity and ingenuity in a totally eye-catching way. For example, take these Mojito shoes by London architect Julian Hakes. Made from a single piece wrapped around the wearer's foot, they still provide support for the heel and ball of the foot. Bonus: they look completely space-age.

Mojito shoe by Julian Hakes

The designer Thomas Heatherwick has also successfully used this concept with his 'Zip bag' for Longchamps, made from a continuous length of zipper. The design isn't just for looks though - when you undo the zip, the entire bag doubles in height, giving you some extra space.

Thomas Heatherwick Zip bag for Longchamps

Of course, this concept is nothing new in furniture, where designers have been bending and twisting materials for years to get the most out of them. The chair below is made from a single sheet of plywood, and was designed by Japanese architects Naruse Inokuma.

Naruse Inokuma Architects one sheet chair

From a slightly different angle comes the 'Do Hit Chair' from Dutch design collective Droog. It's basically a large metal box that comes with a hammer. The idea is to hit your new piece of furniture repeatedly, transforming it into whatever shape suits you. Maybe IKEA should think about introducing a version, everyone needs some stress relief after a day shopping there...

Droog 'Do Hit Chair'

And of course, there's the classic Frank Gehry 'Wiggle Chair', made from a single length of multi-layered cardboard:

Frank Gehry wiggle chair

And to finish, how about a piece from another design genius, Verner Panton. He was the first designer to work out how to produce a single-form injection-moulded plastic chair, better known of course as the Panton. As complicated as the production process may sound, the finished product is a simple classic, still popular today.

Panton chair