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  • Holger Dielenberg

Zachary Crowe’s Nyth Daybed – you want one

Nyth is an old Norse term for nest and it is the name given to this beautifully sculpted daybed designed and built by Zachary Crowe, a recent graduate of Monash University Industrial Design.

Utilising a combination of Monash Uni resources and Space Tank facilities, Zach has spent many months designing and constructing this sculptural timber masterpiece finished in soft leather cushions. It develops strong sentimental attachments through its flowing organic form and will easily become your favourite daybed.

Zach has a passion for furniture design. He is particularly interested in the juxtaposition between fine wood working and experimental manufacturing techniques. Zach gets hands on with his materials but also embraces the use of technology to create things that are made to last with minimal environmental impact.

The social and environmental issues facing us today are the ingredients that drive Zach’s aesthetic considerations. Increasingly smaller floor space of urban dwellings are impacting the furniture that we use and flat pack fitouts have become the quick grab solution fading millions of homes into bland ubiquity. Flat pack furniture is also not made to last. It is not uncommon to churn through a piece of Ikea furniture every few years and the detritus ends up in land fill.

The intention of Zach’s Nyth recliner is to utilise the same CNC manufacturing technology as flat pack furniture, but apply it to an organic form that defies flat pack logic and by using reclaimed form-ply, enables the consumer to make sustainable choices. For a prototype, it presents a compelling basis for structural refinement to utilise internal hollows and glue-less construction. As industry 4.0 enters the manufacturing fray, we are able to fabricate faster, more complex and customized than ever before and Zach is well aware that this is his future.

Slices were CNC cut using sheets distanced at 17mm to gain a cross section at scale according to reclaimed form-ply. Initial sculpting was done by hand with an Arbotech turbo plane attachment, designed for sculpting wood. It enabled the removal of hard edges to expose the underlying form. Belt and disc sanders were used to refine the surface which was then finished with renewable plant wax.

To sculpt the Nyth by hand is not easy. Zach admits that, “the Nyth daybed has been the most challenging item I have designed to date, pushing my technical and creative abilities to new limits. I am thoroughly pleased with the outcome.” With the hand sculpt done, Zach can now consider the commercial avenues that a 5 axis CNC router would allow. Precise machine sculpting and greatly reduced material usage will bring down construction costs and enable a lower entry point for consumers.

Zach’s repurposing of flat pack manufacturing technology reveals customized sculpted forms that are solid, last a long time and utilise reclaimed materials. “Why make it boring and fiddly with exposed hex head screws and old fashioned straight line joinery when technology now allows us to make things beautiful, curvaceous and memorable?” I have to agree, Zach’s Nyth daybed is a stunner that’ll turn any modern interior into an exhibition space. And once design for scaled manufacturing is considered, I would argue that the cost point would make it very competitive.

Nyth is exhibited in a graduate exhibition of over 300 emerging designers, artists and architects at MADA gallery at the Monash University Caulfield Campus.

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