MOWO

MOWO ERGONOMIC CHAIR COLLECTION MADE WITH MODULAR MATERIAL THAT CAN BE CONFIGURATED IN DIFFERENT WAYS

The project

The MOWO, move with wood collection was inspired by the idea to create soft and elastic seats out of wood. After testing different techniques European birch plywood was chosen for its high bending strength. The work explores two different pathways. A family of stools, fun objects for everyday use from desk work till dining, allow tilting and twisting movements. ‘Aera’ presents a woven plywood structure, adaptable to the body’s weight and shape by allowing smaller deformations within its volume. The unexpected sprung reaction of the plywood seats supports the users natural balance and fulfils the body’s need for movement.

Lisa Stolz (United Kingdom)

LISA STOLZ Furniture designer based in London. She recently graduated from a Masters in furniture design with a seating furniture collection focusing on flexible plywood. She also holds a Master’s degree in architecture from the Technical University in Vienna. 

Lisa is from Vienna, Austria. She studied Architecture in Vienna and Furniture Design in London. She worked in various architectural practices, on interior design projects for private clients and as head designer for a young interior start-up company. 

Tamas Babits (Hungary)

TAMAS BABITS owner of Licit LTD, a plywood manufacturing company. His own label ‘Plydesign’ is a new Hungarian furniture label. The brand is committed to re-establishing Hungarian furniture design by advocating young talents and high-quality manufacturing. 

Licit LTD has a solid background of 25 years’ knowledge, built on extensive experience in the manufacturing of moulded plywood components for high-end brands. 

Project website: mowo.studio

STORYTELLING

THE IDEA:

It all started with the application for a Masters in Furniture Design at UAL, Central Saint Martins in 2016. All students had to apply with a project proposal – I came up with the idea of a ‘soft wooden chair’. I had this fantasy of a seat that’s made out of wooden materials but feels springy and elastic, almost like a sofa, when you sit down on it. I guess I was inspired by a sofa I had sat down in a shop when I was young, which ever since defined the ultimate comfort level for me, and some experiments with wood veneer I had done during my studies in architecture. Growing up in Austria, a country with big forests, wood is deeply routed in our culture, which is why I was always drawn to working with the natural and truly sustainable material.

THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:

The beginning of my design journey was very research focused. While experimenting with different materials in the workshop I also dived into the studies of ergonomics. The fact that the interaction between the seat and the user’s body, is not only an indicator of comfort but can also affect our body’s health, became a main driver for the design process.
Especially nowadays living in a technological era, people tend to spend up to 10 hours per day seated. The way HOW we sit has become most important as long-term sitting, also defined as the ‘new smoking’, has been the main cause for back pain and other muscular diseases.
The MOWO collection is based on a modern theory of ergonomics, which claims that the human body is not made for standstill and that regular movement is better than trying to fixate the body in one position. This is how the concept of ‘move with wood’ was born. Sitting on a MOWO stool is not only playful and fun but also keeps our bodies active as the wobbly
structure reacts and supports every movement of our bodies.
The challenge was to create the right type of plywood, thin enough to bend and twist when charged but stable enough to withstand higher loads.

THE CREATIVE PROCESS:

After an intensive phase of material research and experimenting I realised that plywood was the only wooden material that allowed me to create an elastic structure without the need of any additional stretchy materials or joints. I started sketching ideas and transferring them into small scale paper models. In the beginning of the design process I was working on the soft woven wooden structure, what later became the Area mat. I remember not everyone believed in the feasibility of the idea. The head technician of the wood workshops at university, for example, had prophesied that it wouldn’t be possible to create a curved plywood element that kept its shape after applying maximum pressure. One day later I demonstrated the first successful material test to him – I will never forget his face.
The creation of the first plywood stool was a lucky incident. Its shape was based on a paper model and when I first sat on the wooden prototype it didn’t perform anything like I expected.
However, I quickly realised that the unknown features of the bendy stool were actually more useful than the predicted ones as they supported a full body movement and made the sitting experience super fun!
For more than one year I spent almost 5 days a week in the wood workshop and was soon known as the ‘plywood queen’ amongst my co-workers. I highly value this time as it was allowed me to truly get to know the material and all its facets. By the end of the two years course, I had created a collection of 4 stools and 1 bench.

THE COLLABORATION:

Working together with Tamas and his moulded plywood manufacturing company was a big chance and allowed me to develop the collection further and optimise the design for mass production. Through the collaboration, I gained highly valuable insights into the possibilities and constraints of production at high volume.
On the other hand, I challenged him and his team by asking for a complicated press tool that was able to produce plywood shapes with high curvatures and a minimal material thickness, unlike anything THEY had ever done before. The design of the press tool required various iterations and until today is not completed. But working on an innovative product and material takes time – I’m staying positive and believe we will succeed to produce the unusual thin and bendy plywood products in the next year.

THE FUTURE:

The long-term plan for the future is to establish MOWO as a young and modern furniture brand, offering a wide range of fun objects out of moulded plywood advocating a healthy and active way of living.
We’re envisaging a direct business to consumer sales strategy that cuts out retails to make the products affordable for a wider market. Instead of retail shops customers will be able to test the products in public spaces around the city, starting in my home bases Vienna and London, that will function as ‘organic’ showrooms. As soon as all manufacturing issues at Licit are solved we will prepare a Kickstarter campaign that will function as a pre-sale campaign to finance the order of the first badge production.
Additionally, we will apply for the funding program ‘creative to market’ by the Vienna Business Agency to finance a wide marketing and PR campaign.

THE MESSAGE:

I truly believe in the benefit of ANY collaboration. Mixing the expertise and viewpoints of two persons or parties can only bring a more open and informed way of thinking which will contribute positively to the development of a project.
I’d say there are three key ingredients for a successful collaboration – curiosity, flexibility and communication. Curiosity is key and the start of the partnership. Flexibility, in this case the willingness to adapt one’s design to the needs of someone else, needs to be there. Good communication between the parties can be the biggest difficulty, especially when dealing with big companies, in which case deadlines need to be set or time frames adjusted.

PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS

The vase

The vase

Lumimóza

Lumimóza

3D metal panels

3D metal panels

Thinking Woman’s Chair

Thinking Woman’s Chair

Aeras-x Seat for Drone Taxis

Aeras-x Seat for Drone Taxis

Tagenea

Tagenea

Loom-State

Loom-State

Common Sands 2.0

Common Sands 2.0

Maretech

Maretech

Minois

Minois

STEM a garment production brand

STEM a garment production brand

Storytelling Garment Project

Storytelling Garment Project

Mapu Preto

Mapu Preto

Minta

Minta

NO/thing

NO/thing

Modifiable Vegan Bag Collection

Modifiable Vegan Bag Collection

In the Circle

In the Circle

Clotho

Clotho

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed

Vibro-Tactile Textiles

Vibro-Tactile Textiles

LÈBIU – let’s CORK it

LÈBIU – let’s CORK it

WeAr Design

WeAr Design

Freskos

Freskos

ALMA

ALMA

Bubble Façade

Bubble Façade

Crossing Parallels

Crossing Parallels

EnaOna

EnaOna

SEISMIC GARMENT

SEISMIC GARMENT

Rethinking the Bra

Rethinking the Bra

Manual bag

Manual bag

Nova Underwear

Nova Underwear

BioChromatic

BioChromatic

Dimmenso

Dimmenso

Beaggie – Hope Blooms

Beaggie – Hope Blooms

Ignorance is Bliss

Ignorance is Bliss

WE ARE NOT IN THIS ALONE

WE ARE NOT IN THIS ALONE

H|H

H|H

Vibrant-barrier-free glassware collection

Vibrant-barrier-free glassware collection

Edge Chair

Edge Chair

Marbled Salts

Marbled Salts

Moseanic

Moseanic

Kombucha TSUGI

Kombucha TSUGI

LiLO

LiLO

The Eastern Side of Riviera

The Eastern Side of Riviera

Future Wardrobe

Future Wardrobe

Ventri

Ventri

FreyZein

FreyZein

Step Smart

Step Smart

Re-Print Ceramics

Re-Print Ceramics

Vivid

Vivid

A Phyne Bomber Jacket

A Phyne Bomber Jacket

Burning For

Burning For

Circular workwear collection

Circular workwear collection

Recontile

Recontile

Fashion Colada

Fashion Colada

SCALA

SCALA

New Matters

New Matters

Not 2 Forget

Not 2 Forget

Agogic – Be prepared for more

Agogic – Be prepared for more

SMARTCOAT with ETHICS

SMARTCOAT with ETHICS

Mocha Split

Mocha Split

Reframd

Reframd

Zerobarracento

Zerobarracento

ALLCA Disruptive Rugs

ALLCA Disruptive Rugs

Wearable Play

Wearable Play

Wear-Abouts Baltic Sea

Wear-Abouts Baltic Sea

Gelatex x NO/AN

Gelatex x NO/AN

Luxury Bag Collection

Luxury Bag Collection

Amalgama

Amalgama

TTorch

TTorch

From the ground

From the ground

Biolea

Biolea

Ultra

Ultra

Capsule coat project

Capsule coat project

Mayya x WORTH

Mayya x WORTH

The Space in Between

The Space in Between

Rustic Wool Robotuft

Rustic Wool Robotuft

Cartiera & SwIdeas present: Change!

Cartiera & SwIdeas present: Change!

Fish_Fish

Fish_Fish

Common Sands

Common Sands

UCQC Inclusive

UCQC Inclusive

Gabriella Veszpremi X Inpelsa

Gabriella Veszpremi X Inpelsa

Mowo

Mowo

i-Morfé

i-Morfé

Iguaneye

Iguaneye

Ruumy

Ruumy

Fugazi Fugazi

Fugazi Fugazi

Serisole

Serisole

Hi-LAMP

Hi-LAMP

Lucid

Lucid

Senss

Senss

Walkytalkies

Walkytalkies

Sole sustainability

Sole sustainability

A Warm, Light, Luxurious, Sustainable Cloak

A Warm, Light, Luxurious, Sustainable Cloak

Spell My Name

Spell My Name

The “Bib” chair

The “Bib” chair

Materia Bruta

Materia Bruta

Planned Space Pooling

Planned Space Pooling

3D knitwear on demand

3D knitwear on demand

Lit Lace Interface

Lit Lace Interface

iluTex

iluTex

Sukka 

Sukka 

PineSkins Soft Wall Tiles

PineSkins Soft Wall Tiles

Unmoist Raincoat

Unmoist Raincoat

IOT Jacket & Robot

IOT Jacket & Robot

Stars Collection

Stars Collection

Words that shimmer

Words that shimmer

Persona

Persona

PULSAR

PULSAR

Identity 560

Identity 560

Øjenfryd

Øjenfryd

The Ghost Bag

The Ghost Bag

Diluci bags

Diluci bags

M2M furniture (Made 2 Measure Furniture)

M2M furniture (Made 2 Measure Furniture)

Myhand Prosthetic Socket

Myhand Prosthetic Socket

Oceanwear

Oceanwear

t-Studio – 3D fashion design network

t-Studio – 3D fashion design network

Curve

Curve

Multifunctional Textiles

Multifunctional Textiles

Fashion Designing in an Inclusive World

Fashion Designing in an Inclusive World

‘Parameter’ Table

‘Parameter’ Table

Occay

Occay

KICS

KICS

ERGOVI – healthy multiposture chair

ERGOVI – healthy multiposture chair

PreemieCme

PreemieCme

Circular Bags

Circular Bags

Clayer

Clayer

Lulu V2

Lulu V2

Fishskinlab

Fishskinlab

Dynaback

Dynaback

Esther Hates PVC

Esther Hates PVC

Gardin

Gardin

Foldable High Heels

Foldable High Heels

Sustainable Acoustic Panels

Sustainable Acoustic Panels

Edbora Collection

Edbora Collection

Smart Heated Vest

Smart Heated Vest

ACDL Artisan Chausseur Design Lab

ACDL Artisan Chausseur Design Lab

Smart Life Jacket In Watersport

Smart Life Jacket In Watersport

Fragments Garments

Fragments Garments

Hollow: A Lie Story

Hollow: A Lie Story

FWN: Family Wear Nature

FWN: Family Wear Nature

Himaero “The Emotional Jewel”

Himaero “The Emotional Jewel”

Spellbound

Spellbound

Wear Pure

Wear Pure

Connextyle

Connextyle

Unlimited in 1

Unlimited in 1

Paramatrix

Paramatrix

Feel More Knitwear

Feel More Knitwear

Skarabeos 2

Skarabeos 2

Twill

Twill

Fashionable Wearable Camera Accessory

Fashionable Wearable Camera Accessory

‘Margarete’ – Cork Task Chair

‘Margarete’ – Cork Task Chair