Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma's Flax Chair has won two Dutch Design Awards for being a piece of furniture created from an entirely new material says, Fast Company contributor John Brownlee. In 2010, the designer partnered with local farmer Gert-Jan van Dongen to grow a field of flax that would be harvested with the intention of using it as a design material.
Although perhaps best known as a food crop, flax has long been used to make textiles, including linen. Linen has been used in furniture design as an upholstery fabric, but Meinderstma's Flax Chair isn't merely some linen canopy chair. Rather, the designer combined flax with a biodegradeable plastic made from lactic acid. The resulting material can be used to make rigid chairs that hold a person's weight without a frame, almost like a cross between linen and fiber board.