Tenderwood: wooden furniture with integrated veneer cushion

Wood is a great material to make furniture, but if you have to sit on a wooden chair or bench for a long time, most people would like a cushion. Eliminating the need for this, product designer Yen-Hao, Chu combined 3D pressed flexible wood veneer and smooth foam to create furniture called Tenderwood with an integrated cushion made from veneer, keeping the aesthetic of wood.

Regular wood veneer begins to deteriorate and crack after a while if it is used as a soft sitting pad, because the veneer absorbs water from the air, which changes its shape. Chu discovered a way to create a flexible and durable sitting surface using natural wood veneer. The veneer is coated in a flexible glue and combined with soft foam material to create literal soft wood.

The furniture consists of three layers. The bottom one is made of solid wood, on which a cushion layer is placed, made from soft foam. The last layer consists of soft treatment veneer. The wood currently used is Japanese ash, but different wood types are also available under the soft treatment.

The veneer is pressed into a mould into a checker pattern, so that the furniture maintains the aesthetic of a cushioned chair. However, various shapes seem to be possible.

Photos: Anastasia Mityukova


  1. angelo lanzellotto says:

    Hi, are they produced in panels?

  2. Sigrid says:

    Hi Angelo,

    The panels appear to be produced in the size of the sitting area (so a smaller, square one for chairs and a rectangular one for benches). For specific questions about the project, it would be best to ask the designer directly. You can find the contact details on her website (via the link in the article).

    I hope this helps!