Design Philosophy

Computing and CNC machinery enable the thingification of concepts heretofore living only in imagination. This technology enables our exploration by amplifying dispatch and economy.


Outta the ether… see us thingify…
Each Plydea product derives from the ether in a format suitable for import onto pencil and paper wherupon it is quickly whisked into our design software and tortured, convoluted, twisted, bent and stretched to satisfy our whims and the piece’s perceived function. Thence we move the geometry to more software where we specify how and in which order to cut it. Now we load the cnc router and push the green button… then we do it again and again and again to perfect something we think you’ll enjoy using.


Minimum material maximum effect

Nothing is added to satisfy a look, and there’s just the right amount to fulfill the function. While enthusiastically agreeing with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who said that less is more, and with Louis Sullivan who said that form follows function we at Plydea believe that function is form. It is our core design philosophy. Have a good look at your hand sometime. We believe that transparent function should create its own pleasing form. This philosophy of function/form transparency is the fundamental maxim by which our plydeas are designed.


Lean and Friendly

Our stuff is designed with the aim of using the thinnest material possible leaving the least waste possible. We can achieve incredible material strengths and therefore weight savings by inventive use of selective bending and tensioning in certain of our product parts. This converts that bending and tension into stronger, lighter products. We also aim to use no or few fasteners, and require no tools for assembly. Because our basic idea is also to ship our products to you packed flat, this not only saves you shipping cost, it reduces the carbon emissions of transport. We’re proud about how this stuff goes together and we’re pretty confident you’ll enjoy doing it too. We’ve also worked pretty hard creating easily followed instructions.


Part of our product design philosophy, is stated in our credo — function is form – but it is inseparable from the process so we might also say — product is process.


Why Plywood?

Plywood is our material of choice for a number of reasons, 1/ it grows on trees 2/ it’s a handsome material 3/ it’s strong and resilient allowing curving and tensioning 4/ it’s easily worked 5/ it comes in sheets 6/ it’s light in weight 7/ it takes a finish well. Plywood is often viewed derisively but it is in fact a truly honorable and time-honored material having been around since the pyramids and that says something about its durability.


A word on the face finish:

Any craftsman knows that applying a finish to a piece of furniture takes as long as the actual construction of the piece so we decided to engage the available technology to prefinish our plywood. The machine doing this is a behemoth handling plywood the way a big copier handles paper resulting in a practically indestructible finish on both faces of the sheet. Did we mention this finish is UV cured that hardens immediately without VOC’s? — none. See MSDS.



Softwood plywood encloses us in our homes and plywood of fine hardwoods embraces us at home and at work. Such hardwood plywoods often masquerade as solid wood with an edge applied. We at Plydea don’t apply edges, we finish them by micro-bevelling, smoothing and applying a protective polymer.