“R18 Ultra Chair” prototype at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan
The most efficient possible use of energy is the primary objective of lightweight automotive design. After all, lighter cars consume less fuel. Lightweight construction starts by examining the strengths of the different materials. Fully in accordance with the ultra lightweight technology principle – the optimal material must be found for every instance – the designers used the right materials in the right places for the Ultra Chair. The specialists at the Audi Lightweight Design Center lent their expertise to the team. “Three main components have thus far proven sensible for the chair,” explains Dr. Karl Durst, engineer for fiber-reinforced composites at the Audi Lightweight Design Center. “A high-strength aluminum alloy for the chair’s legs, an extremely rigid carbon fiber for the seat, and a carbon-fiber/rubber compound for the backrest.” The chair can be disassembled and transported in a handy box.
The “R18 Ultra Chair – Public Beta” in action
Audi will unveil its “R18 Ultra Chair” prototype in Milan at its interactive “R18 Ultra Chair – Public Beta” installation. And trade fair visitors can experience Audi’s ultra lightweight technology firsthand. They may sit in the chair and watch a real-time portrayal of the structural forces being exerted on the chair. Similar to a thermal imaging camera, false-color images make the aforementioned forces visible – including even the slightest shift in weight. All measurements are recorded and evaluated. This data will help optimize the prototype to create a final version, which will be presented at Design Miami in December 2012.
The Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the world’s most prestigious lifestyle event, offers a special platform for this innovative project and the installation. Audi is participating this year for the second time. The “R18 Ultra Chair” is Audi’s second collaboration with Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram, who were called “Designers of the Future” by Wallpaper magazine in 2008.
The chair has a prestigious namesake: the Audi R18 TDI, which triumphed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011. Thanks to a high-strength carbon-fiber chassis and many other lightweight components, this racing car weighs a mere 900 kilograms – the pinnacle of Audi ultra lightweight construction. It will likewise be exhibited at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile.