04/05/2013 01:17 pm ET Updated Apr 05, 2013

Self-Assembling Furniture: Designer Carl De Smet's Material Expands Into Any Shape (VIDEO)

Are you all thumbs when it comes to assembling furniture? Then, Carl de Smet has your back. The Belgian designer created a line of self-assembling furniture that "grows like popcorn" and can be compressed down to 5 percent of its size.

The trick is in the material.

"Here, the material is the mechanism. So finally the material is doing the work for you," de Smet told the BBC, after comparing his design to IKEA products, which require consumers to do the work.

Made from shape memory polyurethane, the pieces expand to any design once they are heated to 158 degrees Fahrenheit. The process takes only a few minutes, and, after cooling down to room temperature, the material becomes rigid.

In a BBC video (seen above), De Smet explains that consumers can reshape the furniture, if they don't like the given design. He also notes that the "memory foam" material allows for easy delivery.

"It's light, so for shipping it's almost taking up no space," de Smet told Dezeen magazine. "If it gets damaged and it's heated again, [the damage] disappears. If you ship the packaging and something happens to it, it doesn't matter because it isn't the end product; that's in the imprinted memory."

Though de Smet is currently perfecting scaled-down models, he hopes to have a product ready for mass production within the next year. In the meantime, de Smet will unveil his creation at the upcoming Milan Design Week, in Italy.

(Hat tip, MSN Now)



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