The R18 ULTRA CHAIR sees KRAM/WEISSHAAR apply the processes and innovations of cutting-edge race-car design to create the lightest chair possible. Working in collaboration with Audi's Lightweight Design Center—the team behind Audi’s Le Mans race car—prototyping of the R18 Ultra Chair involved the creation of custom embedded smart sensor systems and advanced composite materials which were refined during a large-scale beta testing involving 1,500 visitors at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, 2012. The results are a chair that weighs only 2.2kg.
Advanced physics simulation software applied to crowd-sourced data from thousands of testing sessions at the PUBLIC BETA installation enabled designers and engineers to analyze a wide variety of load scenarios and carefully adjust and optimize the geometry and dimensions of the final object, and materials such as carbon composites, carbon micro-sandwich and high strength aluminium.
At Design Miami/, KRAM/WEISSHAAR and Audi's Lightweight Design Center gave visitors an intimate insight into their studios and labs, displaying drawings, samples, models, mock-ups, moulds and prototypes from the various stages of the development process. This included an industrial welding robot and the chair's namesake and inspiration, the R18 Ultra racecar. The R18 ULTRA CHAIR embodies Audi's ultra lightweight design credo by following strict guidelines to shave off every ounce of excess weight.