Robb Report Home: Carbon Layers

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The carbon fiber and leather RL-CF1 chair ($14,000) came about thanks to the two McLaren F1s in Ralph Lauren’s personal car collection. As the fastest production car ever built (capable of 240 mph), the limited edition McLaren F1 owes its speed in large part to its lightweight carbon fiber chassis.

“A perfect chair just looks and feels right,” says Ralph Lauren. “I believe the RL-CF1 qualifies as an iconic piece.” 

“The RL-CF1 is probably the most technologically challenging chair on the market today,” Lauren says of the recent addition to his home furnishings collection. “The cantilevered frame is shaped by 54 layers of tissue carbon laid by hand. The frame is four times thicker than almost any part made of carbon fiber, whether for high-end aircraft, race cars, or bikes.”

Working with carbon fiber is a complicated process, but Lauren believes it is an ideal material for furniture—it is extremely light and incredibly strong, and it has great flexibility. But how does high-tech carbon fiber fit in with the classic Ralph Lauren image? “My collections have always drawn upon modern sophistication mixed with old-world elegance and the comforts of familiarity,” he says. “It’s a natural combination when you think about the way we live. I love upholstering contemporary pieces in classic fabrics or translating new technology into classic forms.”

As innovative and modern as the RL-CF1 is, the use of saddle leather and the subtle herringbone pattern in the carbon fiber add another dimension. “This cutting-edge chair works as well in a dramatic environment grounded in English classics as it does in an ultramodern, clean-lined space.”


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