The new furniture transformers: why components drive the mechanisms for change
For those furniture manufacturers and designers keen to solve problems, exciting times lie ahead.
*Reproduction of “The new furniture transformers – why components drive the mechanisms for change“, by Preston Furniture Solutions. Click on the link to read the original article.
Interior design is changing, fast-moving from open-plan living to multi-functional spaces, with consumers increasingly seeking flexible kitchen, dining, and living room furniture.
What started off as a mere design trend, has been catapulted to the top of the agenda by a global pandemic that could never have been predicted. However, it’s certain that the rise in numbers working from home will increase the demand for manufacturers to produce furniture that can adapt to our changing needs.
For any manufacturer already juggling with supply chain, production, and staffing issues, developing a new product range may seem like a tall order, but now is the ideal time to keep up with social change and anticipate future demand. For those furniture manufacturers and designers keen to solve problems, exciting times lie ahead.
Furniture design must reflect our “new normal”
According to a report by academics at Cardiff and Southampton universities, nine in 10 workers who have worked from home during lockdown would like to continue in some form. In the Understanding Society Covid-19 Study, more than 40% felt that they had been more productive at home. From an employer’s perspective, having more productive staff, away from the office, could see considerable cost savings.
This opens the door to furniture manufacturers to increase sales, just so long as they introduce ranges that reflect our new normal.
Which means homes will have to work harder. Furniture will need to adapt, and at the click of a finger. We need cabinets that turn into conference tables, drawers that reveal hot desks, doors that slide to divide and unite living spaces. Whilst square footage may be at a premium, the creative use of space can make the most of every inch available and it’s here that growth potential exists. What designers need right now, are the mechanisms for change.
And that is, simply, having the best hardware solutions. The best designs are rarely produced in isolation. Somewhere along the line, additional expertise will turn an idea into a product, a concept into reality.
The mechanisms for change
When the iconic Mini was designed in answer to a post-war fuel crisis, it was Alec Issigonis, who was tasked with creating a lightweight compact car for the mass market. Whilst this petite car soon represented the very best of Great British design, one of the most innovative aspects was the suspension, which was designed by someone else. Without the expertise of engineer Alex Moulton, it’s likely that the Mini would never have secured its place in the automobile hall of fame. And if Alex hadn’t come from a family that had founded the Moulton rubber company, chances are that he would never have thought of introducing rubber to the cone spring.
So, what does this have to do with furniture manufacturing?
That’s pretty simple – to create innovative, flexible furniture and storage solutions that transform the experience of our homes, every furniture manufacturer will need perfectly engineered, ingenious hardware mechanisms. Without these, an idea will never ever be more than a concept.
Problems and designers equal solutions. Solutions and collaboration equal innovation. It’s these simple formulas that create the breeding ground for design ingenuity.
This isn’t designing for trends, adding new finishes, layouts, and colours. Today’s furniture manufacturers are designing with real purpose, to revolutionise the experience of every customer, by significantly improving the way in which we use our homes. For kitchen and furniture manufacturers, now is the time to engineer a new future, to seek out the expertise in components that will create designs that meet the needs of a new period in society. Let’s call these the mechanisms for change.
“The role of the designer is that of a good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.” – Charles Eames
We can’t be certain of the future, but adaptability, the ability to transform the way in which we live, is the key component of a new future. And, just like the Mini and second world war, it will be design and engineering that lead the way.