The Hydro chair: a glimpse into the future

Many have tried to imagine what the future might look like. Flying cars, holograms, and interstellar travel have all been considered. And a lot of silver and grey, for some reason. When we try to envision a sustainable future, though, it tends to look a bit different. Greener. Now, that vision has been realised in the shape of the chair. One that’s both silver and green.

The Hydro chair is the result of a collaboration between British designer Tom Dixon and Norwegian aluminium and energy producer Hydro. It’s a lightweight, durable, and 100% recyclable chair, inspired by the automotive industry.

This month, Polestar and Hydro hosted a breakfast talk at the Polestar space in Oslo with renowned Interior and Lighting Designer Tom Dixon, Hydro’s Jean-Marc Moulin and Maximilian Missoni, Polestar’s Head of Design. The conversation was focused on the Hydro Chair and was moderated by Elise By Olsen, founder of Wallet Magazine and International Library of Fashion Research.

When the collaboration between Tom Dixon and Hydro began in late 2018, their challenge was designing and producing a single piece chair made from fully recyclable material. The result is both striking and sustainable.

Using superplastic forming, a process originally used in the automotive industry, the chair has been blow-formed into shape. This is done by applying high temperature pressurised gas to the aluminium, moulding it into its form, and then laser cutting it for a fine surface finish. Its balloon-shaped pattern gives the chair necessary strength as well as its unique, playful appearance.

Within the automotive industry, this method is typically used to make precise and complex forms from metals, like aluminium, for the vehicle’s body panels. 

Image of two aluminium chairs.

Designing for the future will require us come together to find new ways to make products more sustainable. The Hydro chair is the outcome of collaboration and a common goal: a sustainable product, starting with innovation and design.

The same approach that lies at the core of Polestar’s mission of creating a climate neutral car. Which is why we’re thrilled that Hydro intends to join us in our venture, that will require us to rethink how cars are made.    

This is not the first time that we’ve collaborated in order to re-think mobility. Hydro joined us, along with designer Konstantin Grcic, Wallpaper*, and CAKE, in developing the multi-functional electric transporter, Re:Move.

The electric three-wheeler that made its first virtual appearance at South by South West 2021 is not only a multi-functional vehicle, but another result of a multiple partners coming together, envisioning what the future of electric mobility might look like. 

We envision a future in which products can be both premium and sustainable. This will require cross-sector team-ups, innovative materials, and unexpected techniques. While we can’t predict the future, the Hydro chair embodies a future in which all products, regardless of colour, are also green.  

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