It might look like just a colorful art piece, but Justin Moeller’s rubber band chair is functional piece of furniture able to sustain a grown man’s weight. The young industrial designer created the unique in 2011, by hand, from over 65,000 rubber bands.
Justin Moeller was in his final year at the Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina, when a friends suggested he move past the traditional “rubber band ball” idea and use the office supply to make something truly unique – a chair. She noticed the strength and quality of the bands Justin was already experimenting with, and though an office chair would push the idea of what a rubber band is meant to do. Inspired by this suggestion, Moeller traveled to stationary shops in four different towns, buying up their entire stock of rubber bands each time, and even made some return trips once the shops restocked. He spent over $200 on the 65,000 stretchy bands and worked on building and perfecting his one-of-a-kind chair for 336 hours. “It almost looks like a fun toy that has been enlarged to a human scale where the user is sitting in a giant toy,” the designer says about his three feet-tall creation. “But though it may look like it is all for fun it also happens to be very comfortable. The back is made from rubber bands weaved within themselves to create a springy sitting area that softly holds the user.”
Despite its light and springy feel, the rubber band chair weighs a hefty 16 kilograms, partly due to the 12-inch steel rods Justin had to use in order to give the chair a shape. But he insists it was designed to look and feel like it’s 100% made of rubber bands. It stretches when you sit on it and bounces if knocked over. It’s this illusion that won him the $3,000 first prize in the Appalachian State University’s 6th Annual Chair Design Competition.
It’s been almost three years now since Justin Moeller unveiled the world’s bounciest chair, but he says it still looks and feels brand new. “It has been moved around to multiple shows and I have been using it for the last couple months as my computer chair and it still looks as good as new,” he writes on his site. “It looks as if the frame under the rubber bands is helping to keep them fresh but I don’t expect it to last forever.” That’s because some of his other rubber-band creations have begun to dry-up after around four years, so it’s hard to say for how long the chair will be safe to sit on.