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Stories by Hydro

Designed by Tom Dixon with Hydro EcoDesign

The HYDRO Chair is the result of close collaboration between British designer Tom Dixon and Hydro. The Hydro EcoDesign concept helped ensure that the chair will last for years and that it can easily be recycled. Designed in 100% aluminium and with few components, it is easy to take apart and recycle when it reaches the end of its life as a chair.

Tom Dixon is known for his love of metals and chose aluminium due to its suitable qualities for a light and robust chair designed with sustainability in mind.

Designer Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon loves to work with aluminium due to its endless design opportunities. (Photo: Tom Dixon Studio)

“I have always been obsessed with materials and aluminium in particular. It’s a metal I find incredibly interesting with its endless opportunities in terms of shapes and surface qualities. Being able to work with the top aluminium and material experts in the industry was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse,” says Tom Dixon, Founder and Creative Director of Tom Dixon Studio.

Aluminium is one of the few materials that can be recycled endlessly without losing its properties and is therefore an ideal material for a circular economy. Understanding material properties and manufacturing processes helps industrial designers and engineers to create products with recycling or reuse in mind. Therefore, it is important for designers and manufacturers to collaborate.

Knowing that that most of the cost and the environmental footprint of a product of products are committed early in the design process, Hydro EcoDesign can help you make products with increased functionality and a smaller environmental footprint.

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Inspired by automotive production

When Hydro’s technical experts and the team from Tom Dixon Studio first met in late 2018, the design challenge was to shape a metal chair seat in one singular piece. This is not an easy task and required extensive research into various technologies, and production had to balance cost, design, practicality and technical feasibility.

With experts from Hydro and the Dixon team working closely together exchanging ideas, they were able to push technology forward:

  • Aluminium sheet in the superplastic aluminium alloy 5083T allows can be stretched to several times its original size without failure when heated
  • The blow-forming technique shapes the aluminium into the characteristic ballooned shape at high temperatures before robots laser-cut the pieces
  • The blow-forming process is developed for the automotive industry to make deep and complex forms that just a few years ago were impossible to achieve
  • The chair is lightweight but robust and made to last – also outdoors – and demonstrates how aluminium products can be designed for recycling

About Hydro EcoDesign

All products have an environmental impact, starting with material extraction, then to production, transportation, usage, disposal and recycling. Hydro EcoDesign can help you design and produce products with increased functionality and a smaller environmental footprint. In the design process we work together on topics like designing for disassembly, disruptive business models, take-back systems, supplier engagement, packaging and enhanced recycling. 

ECODesign contacto genérico

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