Did you know we are living in the golden age of printing and cutting? Thanks to improvements in printing techniques and in digitally guided (CNC) cutting we can create things that would have cost several magnitudes more than is currently possible. For a few years now I’ve been developing a range of furniture based on these techniques, designed to be easily customizable, easily producible, and affordable. I’ve already used the idea in exhibitions to great effect, especially when budget constraints were on order. (see display case in style of gothic scriptorium and The Story Wharf of Hoogeveen)
Coming up with compelling or “fun” designs isn’t even the hard part. Researching your markets and target groups, predicting costs, finding distributors, and imagining a large business with ones self at the center are all things out of my comfort zone. I see myself as a creator, and moving beyond that to “businessman” is quite a leap. That’s why you haven’t see any of this yet on the market. Finding the right partners is the key.
But after some years of gestation I want to share it with the world, and show what kind of possibilities I’m going after.
In essence my line of furniture, which I’ve called “Dogbone”, is what you would call a customizable flat-pack. A flat-pack is anything that arrives in a box of pre-cut sheets and planks that can be assembled into an object: what you would typically call IKEA. Often without applying any hardware at all. When the challenge is to make a piece of furniture that is collapsible, transportable and spurs easy assembly, the designer can do this by means of mortises and tenons, the one fitting into the other. In the case of Dogbone the idea is to have all the parts held together by gravity and compression alone.
The second principle of Dogbone is customizability. This is the fun part. The cut sheets of plywood —a product name with many registers of quality and sustainability— are printed with colored designs on a flatbed printer. The ambition is to have a system of ordering online where a customer can choose from a variety of designs, and even potentially create a personal print.
The customizability also implies a certain latitude of choice in materials and prices. But in the end the ideal client is someone who wants a highly personal touch in a furnishing which occasionally needs to be assembled and disassembled. I think of student houses, pop-up hospitality events, wedding planners, but also young couples who migrate around a bit.
And why call it Dogbone? Well a dogbone is the shape that a router makes in a rectangular mortise; it carves out a round bit in the four corners to make sure that the tenon fits in perfectly. And instead of a bug, I made it a feature.