Motek Chair by Luca Nichetto for Cassina

This month’s Deconstruction gives us insight into Luca Nichetto’s design process for the Motek Chair. Designed for Cassina, the clean-cut chair appears to be simple with clean lines and a sleek silhouette but Nichetto used technology from the car industry to create the rigid body needed to support weight. Utilizing pressure molding, a sheet of felt is folded just so to achieve the structure needed while keeping the design light, much like a piece of origami, Nichetto’s inspiration. A sheet of paper is both flexible and lightweight, but in theory, it cannot bear weight. That same sheet of paper takes on a completely new form and structure thanks to the Japanese art of paper folding, origami, that is able to support weight. That idea went into the design and fabrication of the Motek Chair and here’s a look at Nichetto’s thought process:


The body of the Motek chair, available in two tones of grey, is formed thanks to a composition of needled felt with a base of synthetic fibred fabric in polyethylene, on which a non-woven fabric is applied both on the front and back which is also made from needled felt with a base of synthetic fibred fabric.


The stratification of materials is heated and then pressed in a steel thermostat mould in which the composition is compressed to form and define the final shape.



Model phase


Model phase


Model phase


This technology of pressure moulding is characteristic of the car manufacturing sector.


Work in progress


Work in progress


Work in progress


Work in progress with model version


Work in progress


On completion of the production phase of the Motek chair’s body, an under piece made from a plastic material with four stainless steel inserts is fixed to it which is necessary for securing the base in polished or painted black cast aluminium.


The two types of legs are then fixed to the base: natural ash-wood or ash-wood stained Canaletto walnut, polished metal or black varnished polished metal. The feet are moulded in a plastic material with a no-slip rubber end.



Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.