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ALESSIA for

Cover


The

ALESSIA An adaptable sleep/sit solution for modern living.

for


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The

ALESSIA

Alessia is a modular seating range designed for modern living. Inspired by a growing need for flexibility within the home, Alessia features arms and backs that can be clipped onto a steel base in a variety of configurations, while also being easily dismantled for transport. The square and rectangular bases can be combined to create a completely customisable seating experience for any living space. Because sofas aren’t just used for sitting, the consideration for occasional sleep has also been designed into the Alessia range. The base of the

sofa is actually a bespoke mattress using innovative plastic spring technology from the bed industry. Atop of the mattress is a feather topper which unzips to reveal a standard sized duvet. The side cushion is a standard sized pillow, while the back cushion rolls out to reveal a feather mattress topper wrapped around another foam pillow, allowing the option of both a softer mattress and a firmer pillow. Beautifully styled and highly adaptable, Alessia can be configured to be a chair, sofa, footstool, or corner sofa- allowing you to seat (or sleep!) as many or as little people as you like.

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Modular &

ADAPTABLE

The possibilities are endless with Alessia’s many configurations. The design features square and rectangular bases that work together to create a seat big or small enough to suit any sized room. The arm/back pieces are easily clipped onto (or off of!) the metal base in any configuration you like. This allows complete customisation of your sofa, and the possibility for it to grow or shrink in size if you needed it to.

With arms that simply screw onto the base, this makes transport of the sofa much easier, as the sofa is able to compact down quite simply. Alessia can also function as a spare bed, with it’s base being a mattress, the feather topper housing a double duvet, and its side cushion interior a standard sized pillow. Finally a sofa as comfortable to sleep on as it is to sit on!

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Modular &

ADAPTABLE

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Modular &

ADAPTABLE

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Modular &

ADAPTABLE

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Modular &

ADAPTABLE

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Table of

CONTENTS

14. 18. 74. 80. 90. 92.

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EVOLUTION OF THE BRIEF

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RESEARCH

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SKETCH + IDEATION

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DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

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FRAME + TECH DRAWINGS

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WORKING WITH MANUFACTURERS

112. 118. 124. 130. 138. 144.

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FRAME ASSEMBLY

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MATTRESS ASSEMBLY

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CUTTING + SEWING

// UPHOLSTERY

// ITERATIONS + DETAILING

// v2: IMPROVEMENTS TO THE DESIGN

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EVOLUTION OF THE BRIEF INDOOR/OUTDOOR FLOW

A piece of furniture that can function & aesthetically work both indoor and outdoor. Outdoor furniture is very purpose based. It needs to be weatherproof and/or covered in the winter. (This creates a storage issue for the cushions.)

What if the frame was lightweight enough and/or modular to bring outdoor and back indoors easily? This eliminates the need for weatherproofing.

OR perhaps there are two bases/ frames, and a set of cushions to be moved indoor/outdoor?

TRANSITIONAL LIVING

A piece of furniture that grows and transitions with you. “A kind of ecosystem with unlimited possibilities.” - Tom Dixon

A sofa range which is: - Modular - Adaptable/flexible in size - Takes into consideration occasional sleep - Fits into Duresta’s contemporary range, Domus

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Transitions from:

> Indoor/outdoor > Small space to large space > From house to house, easily moveable > Change in lifestyle; student to young couple, to family, kids, etc. > Basic to luxury > Sofa > bed? > broken up into chairs? > What else?


Evolution of

THE BRIEF

Alessia was born out of a live brief with Nottingham based upscale upholstery company Duresta. I completed an industrial work placement at Duresta during the third year of my degree, and have continued to work part time for them during my final year. The brief was set by the Design Director, Will Cawson, as an opportunity to research and develop different areas that the company has been curious about. Over the time of the project, the brief has grown and evolved considerably. Our initial conversations were about looking into outdoor furniture, and exploring how Duresta could develop an outdoor model (for our contemporary range Domus), that looked and felt good enough to pass as an indoor model. Duresta had come across a new fabric which was waterproof and weather resistant, yet looked and felt like a high end fabric. We spoke about the balance between the indoor/ outdoor flow, about how many high-end upholstery companies were exhibiting outdoor upholstery

ranges at the Salone del Mobile in Milan, and how this was an exciting market that Duresta could possibly break into. I gathered a list of high-end upholstery companies offering outdoor ranges, and started to analyse what types of designs they are offering, what sort of fabric they are using, cushion fillings, and frames. After compiling this document, a second conversation was had with the Design Director, where we decided that it would be better to steer this project into more of a ‘conceptual’ route. Instead of designing something for the current Duresta market, I should think ahead to a ‘future Duresta’. We spoke more about outdoor furniture and how it only needed to be weatherproof if we were keeping it outside permanently/during adverse weather conditions. However, if it were a modular and/or lightweight piece that could live indoors/outdoors as you saw fit, then the problem of weatherproofing would be solved.

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EVOLUTION OF THE BRIEF After analysing all the research it is clear that we need a MODULAR SOLUTION that can work in small spaces, but can be UPGRADED in size, configuration, and possibly cover and seat filling as users progress in living space and financial means. It also needs to be EASILY DISMANTLED for ease of transport while moving. It is extremely important that it DOES NOT LOSE QUALITY IN THE DISASSEMBLY/ASSEMBLY PROCESS!

MODULAR - Square & rectangle bases > What dimensions? - Add on arms, backs, etc. to base to create your own configuration > How are these attached? - Clips? - Magnets? - Bolts? - Wing nuts? - Telescoping tubes? - Other? - Connection points between modular bases > Needs to be possible to assemble & disassemble as many times as needed

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EASE OF TRANSPORT - Does it need to be flat packed? - Add on components (arms, backs, side table, etc.) that can be disassembled during transport to keep it compact - Fold-able? > Back folds into base? - Cushions stored in base during transport? - Legs screw in? Can be disassembled easily

AESTHETICS + MATERIAL - If this is a piece aimed at renters, the majority of renters are between 25-44 with a limited budget - The shape/style needs to cross socio-economic levels, and be able to be ‘upgraded’ with a more luxurious cover/fillings if need be - What sort of base would work best? > Plinth? > Legs? > Wood? > Metal?


Evolution of

THE BRIEF I then began looking into the idea of ‘transitionary furniture’; something that could be flexible and adaptable as the user needed. Pieces that could be flat-packed or compacted down, modular pieces that could grow and adapt in size as one’s living space did. I looked into the Mintel Reports which provided a basis that more people are renting and moving home more frequently, and forecasted that is growing demand for furniture that is more versatile to maximise the use of limited living space while also being easier to transport, since those in the private rental sector tend to move home more frequently” (Mintel, Living and Dining Room Furniture - UK, September 2017).

After my third conversation with the Design Director, he brought a new element to the brief. After a conversation with the CEO of Duresta who had recently stayed at a friend’s London flat for the weekend and slept on his uncomfortable sofa bed, he realised there was a market for a comfortable and high-end sofa bed. The brief had now evolved to designing a piece of furniture that could fit into our contemporary collection Domus, which was modular and adaptable, with a consideration for occasional sleep.

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Riviera by Minotti

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

The Design Director of Duresta had noticed a considerable trend over the years of high end upholstery companies starting to offer outdoor furniture ranges at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. From our initial conversations about a brief, we spoke about exploring the possibility of how Duresta could develop an outdoor model or range for our contemporary range Domus. Recently, he had come across a fabric that looked and felt quite high-end and luxury, however was waterproof and weather resistant. I needed to look into what sort of designs were out in the market, it order to understand what sort of style our consumer might want. With outdoor furniture, not only was it important to have a weather resistant fabric, but there had to be a consideration for the sort of fillings that went into the cushions. Finally, the frame had to be weather resistant. I gathered a list of high end upholstery companies offering outdoor ranges, and started to analyse what types of designs they are offering, what sort of fabric they are using, cushion fillings, and frames. Most companies offered external frames (teak, wicker, metal, etc.), with loose cushions in waterproof

fabric, and fibre cushions. There was a mix of styles, however most were more on the modern and/or minimal side. Most companies advised to purchase a waterproof cover to go over the sofa when not in use. I tested two light coloured swatches of the Sunbrella fabric by hanging it from my 4th floor flat window over the months of November to March, in order to test how it wore being outdoors during the entire winter. As you can see from the photo (see next page), the fabric had little to damage to it. I had a look at further brands of weatherproof fabric and found that they were mostly comprised of solution dyed acrylic and polypropylene strands, woven together. Upon further research of the UK market, I found that companies were not able to offer the fabrics completely waterproof because the UK fire retardancy laws did not allow for a proper waterproof back coating to be applied. We tested applying a FR back coating on the Sunbrella fabric, and found that it made the fabric quite stiff and plastic looking, which was exactly what we were trying to avoid.

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

RESTORATION HARDWARE MARKET RESEARCH

ABOUT THE COMPANY: RH is a curator of design, taste and style in the luxury lifestyle market, offering furniture, lighting, textiles, rugs, bath ware, décor and outdoor, as well as baby & child and teen products. Our collections of timeless, updated classics and authentic reproductions provide a unique point

of view and an unmatched combination of inspired design and unparalleled quality. Each season brings a wealth of new ideas culled from our partnerships with the world’s most renowned artisans, allowing us to showcase their unique products, passion and vision.

OUTDOOR UPHOLSTERY RANGES:

AEGEAN ALUMINIUM

AEGEAN TEAK

BELVEDERE

BISCAYNE

ANTIBES

ASPEN

CADIZ

CARMEL

AVIARA

BELGIAN SLOPE ARM OUTDOOR

CIEL

CLODAGH

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

CLOUD MODULAR OUTDOOR

CLOUD TRACK ARM OUTDOOR

LA JOLLA

LEAGRAVE

CORONADO

COSTA

MAJORCA

MALDIVES

HAVANA

IBIZA

MALIBU

MARBELLA ALUMINIUM

KINGSTON

KLISMOS

MARBELLA TEAK

MAREA

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

MASSIMO

MERIDA

RUTHERFORD

MILANO

MUSTIQUE ALUMINIUM

TIBURON

MUSTIQUE TEAK

PALMA

PAROS 22

PROVENCE

SANTA MONICA


Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

RECOMMENDED CUSTOM-FIT OUTDOOR COVER INFO:

SAMPLE SPECS:

RESTORATION HARDWARE - OBSERVATIONS - Most pieces have an exposed, un-upholstered frame, normally made of teak or aluminium. - Cushions are easily moveable to bring indoors when not in use - Uses Sunbrella and Perennial fabrics - The use of a custom-fit outdoor furniture cover is ‘strongly advised’ to extend the life of the furniture 23


Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

B&B ITALIA MARKET RESEARCH

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Founded in 1966 with the entrepreneurial vision of Piero Ambrogio Busnelli, B&B Italia is a leading Italian company in the international world of designer furniture for both home (B&B Italia Home Division) and contract (B&B Italia Contract Division).

ERICA

CANASTA ‘13

BAY

Freedom, comfort and aesthetic research for outdoor living. Created with exclusive materials and avant-garde technologies to characterise gardens and terraces. Discover B&B Italia Outdoor products.

FAT- SOFA OUTDOOR

BUTTERFLY RAVEL CHARLES OUTDOOR

CANASTA 24

CANASTA ‘13 V2

GIO

RAY OUTDOOR FABRIC


Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

RAY OUTDOOR NATURAL

RAY OUTDOOR FABRIC FABRIC SPECS:

SAMPLE SPECS:

B&B ITALIA - OBSERVATIONS - Exposed ‘frame’ in a basket style weave mixed with metal - Metal or wood plinths - They do feature a couple of fully upholstered pieces, but mostly ‘exposed frame’ style - Fabric is made from polypropylene fibres which are UV and weather resistant

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

GLOSTER MARKET RESEARCH

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Gloster is an outdoor furniture company who’s roots can be traced all the way back to West Africa in 1960, where a band of passionate entrepreneurs and furniture makers took the first steps on a long journey. By the early 1970’s, increased demand and access to plantation grown teak led us to move our factory to Indonesia.

Today, the same passion, conviction and pride that launched the Gloster brand, continues to fuel our business. We may live in a different world than the one occupied by our founders (Germany), but one thing remains the same – we are furniture makers whose sole focus is to design and build the world’s finest outdoor furniture.

ATMOSPHERE

BAY

CLOUD

CRADLE DAY BED

GRAND WEAVE

LOOP

CLOUD

VISTA

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

SAMPLE SPECS:

FABRIC INFO:

SAMPLE ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS:

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE FABRIC INFO:

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

FABRIC INFO (NON-UK):

GLOSTER - OBSERVATIONS - All designs feature an ‘exposed frame’ style - All cushions are removable - Sit on flat bottom plinths, aside from ‘Bay’ which has a nice angled mid-century style - Uses Sunbrella fabrics - Cannot ‘weatherproof’ UK furniture because of FR regulations 29


Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

MINOTTI MARKET RESEARCH

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Minotti was founded by Alberto Minotti in the 1950s. The key to the Minotti identity lies in its ability to express the Made in Italy concept to perfection, melding tradition and technology in an indissoluble way: artisan expertise puts the finishing touches to a product that is made using cutting-edge production methods, while intelligent hands lend sensitivity and emotion to industrial precision. Added to

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this high-level know-how is the careful selection of materials and technologies, which reveal a penchant for impeccable details, in an ideal striving for excellence that involves all sectors of the company. Recognizable features of the trademark Minotti style and products are a timeless design, unparalleled comfort, reliability and the ability to stand the test of time.


Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

ALISON ‘DARK BROWN’

ASTON CORD

ALISON IROKO

FLORIDA

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

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INDIANA

HALLEY

LE PARC

RIVIERA


Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

VIRGINIA

MINOTTI - OBSERVATIONS: - All designs are on flat bottom plinths - All have removable cushions > ‘Florida’ has an interesting system whereby the back cushions are attached with ‘metal frogs’ - Lots of woven patterns in the frame - Wood frames are really well finished and look very high quality, as if they should be on interior sofas

SAMPLE SPECIFICATIONS:

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Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

SUTHERLAND MARKET RESEARCH

ABOUT THE COMPANY: Through partnerships with leading designers and the use of only the highest-quality materials, Sutherland FurnitureÂŽ has become a leader in luxury outdoor furniture, recognized worldwide for its elegant proportions, unparalleled comfort and impeccable craftsmanship. Sutherland furniture is developed to uniquely withstand outdoor and

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maritime conditions. Over the past 20 years, Sutherland designs have grown to include materials such as aluminium, marine grade 316 stainless steel, marble and glass fiber-reinforced concrete. Masterful joinery techniques work in conjunction with all of these materials to create truly heirloom-quality outdoor furniture.


Research:

OUTDOOR FURNITURE

ECLIPSE:

SAMPLE SPECS:

SUTHERLAND - OBSERVATIONS: I particularly like this model, as it is a simple and modern solution to having an unobtrusive exposed frame to hold upholstered components, while giving the illusion of a fully upholstered sofa.

- All designs are on flat bottom plinths - All have removable cushions - Eclipse has quite an interesting Le Corbusier-esque style that could work

This is reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s ‘Le Gran Confort’:

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Can Sofa for Hay, by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

It was clear from the research that there is a greater need for flexibility within the home. People are living in smaller spaces and moving more frequently. There needs to be a reaction in furniture design to create more space saving, versatile, and multifunctional furniture, that also compacted down to make life easier when moving. I began to look into the idea of ‘transitionary furniture’; something that could be flexible and adaptable as the user needed. Pieces that could be flat-packed or compacted down, modular pieces that could grow and adapt in size as your living space did. Historically, furniture with these same attributes was favoured by travelling armies. Known as ‘campaign furniture’, these pieces featured elements

that could fold away or compact down simply, and were relatively light to carry from place to place. Below are examples of furniture with features and elements which compact down with a clear distinction between their structural element and the cushions which add comfort. What’s especially interesting is the parallel between the design elements here and those of the outdoor furniture. There were lots of ‘external frames’ with loose cushions, and elements that capped on, strapped on, or clipped on. Particular stand-outs were Tom Dixon’s recent collaboration with IKEA, Delaktig, the Bouroullec brother’s Can Sofa for Hay, and ex- Apple engineer Brad Sewell flat-pack sofa company Campaign.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Delaktig by Tom Dixon for Ikea, was a collaboration between himself and several design students. The thinking behind it is really clever, and allows the user to customise it by clipping on arm/back rests, side tables, reading lamps etc. The base of the design is a ‘platform’ on which this modifications can be made, and is designed to last a lifetime. Very clever idea, however the downside is that it is incredibly ugly.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

The Can Sofa by the Bouroullec brothers for Hay is a clever flat pack solution for a sofa. It features a metal base and arm pieces which disassemble and compact down, and loose cushions, The whole thing looks incredibly clever, lightweight, and stylish.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

A couple of modular solutions for customising your space.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Design student solutions using air to inflate/deflate the sofas for space saving, and straps to clip modular pieces together.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

These pieces look like a mix between campaign furniture and a sleeping bag. The downside is they do not look comfortable and seem like very temporary solutions.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

A daybed by Polish design company Tabanda, which features and exposed structural base and loose cushions.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Two very similar sofas (the left being Ikea), which feature a mesh wire frame base and loose cushions which go on top. Lightweight and simple.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Clever solutions using straps and exposed structural frames.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Interesting use of leather as a structural yet lightweight solution to holding loose cushions within the wooden frame.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Stacked cushions to create the structure of the sofa - lightweight and modular solution.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Simple modular sections with can be added to create different sizes/configurations of the sofa.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

A similar (yet more stylish) idea to Tom Dixon’s Delaktig which allows for arms/backs and side tables to be clipped onto a metal base.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Sofas with metal bases, with arms that seem like they are either lifted onto a metal structure or clipped onto the base.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Another sofa with arms/backs/ side tables that clip on

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Beautiful solutions that look like a soft piece has been lifted onto a structural frame.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Modular solutions with thin arms/ structure and lots of comfy loose cushions.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

More flat pack Ikea solutions that are very simple and Scandinavian in style. The arms screw into the base, on the Soderhamn, yet once they are attached they cannot be moved to another configuration as the screws cut into the fabric.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Patricia Urquiola for Moroso, a modular sofa upholstered in jersey fabric. What’s interesting is that these arm and back pieces look as if they are slotted onto the wooden poles, theoretically making them flat pack friendly

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Campaign furniture by ex-Apple engineer sells clever sofas that are completely flat packed.

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Research:

TRANSITIONARY FURNITURE

Interesting components from the bed industry which may come in handy in designing a modular sofa, Clever solutions to attached pieces of furniture together.

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Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

Mintel is a market research company that put out annual reports forecasting trends in the market. This latest report on the UK Living and Dining Room market notes that:

a design which could solve the problem of having a comfortable and well-designed sofa bed. While sofa beds are clever and useful items to have, they are often clunky, uncomfortable, and un-stylish.

“Consumers are increasingly demanding more versatile solutions to better suit the way they live. Multifunctional furniture such as sofas that turn into a bed, contain hidden storage or can be adapted to suit changing living conditions all hold particular appeal to the growing population living in private rental accommodation. Meanwhile, growth in the proportion of those living in private rental accommodation means that the population is likely to move more frequently increasing the appeal of furniture that can be transported more easily.” The desire for more versatile furniture was seen in “those who live in flats [who] are particularly interested in flexible furniture solutions, such as modular sofas (43%), furniture that can easily be dismantled for transport (41%), sofa beds (35%) and dining chairs that fold flat for storage (34%).”

Duresta has championed the British upholstery industry for the last 80 years, creating luxury handmade pieces that are aspirational objects. Domus, being our contemporary collection, was designed for the Duresta customer who still appreciates luxury handmade furniture, but has a slightly more modern taste than our traditional classic style. Generally this tends to be someone younger than our normal audience (those between 25-50), who perhaps grew up with Duresta in their parent’s home and want a Duresta of their own. Equally, this could be someone with a second property in a major city who wants a more modern look to suit the cosmopolitan city life.

This research provides solid evidence of a real life problem in the market which needs to be solved. Following a conversation with the Duresta Design Director, he suggested I start looking into

In both of these cases, with the younger family or in the city property, having the flexibility of a sofa bed is useful for having guests stay over, etc. However, the design and contents of the sofa need to uphold the Domus style, and Duresta standards of quality.

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Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

MINTEL REPORT - CONSUMER MARKET ANALYSIS

What are ‘Mintel Reports’? “Mintel Reports is a unique resource, offering access to hundreds of consumer market and industry reports worldwide. Our consumer market reports are built on exclusive primary research that enables us to identify the key trends - for today and tomorrow - in the way people choose, spend, think and react in the key segments of every industry we cover. Alongside that, our analysts draw on a wide range of published and exclusive sources of financial data to give you the numbers that matter in each market: size, segments, shares. Our industry reports publish annually, but we're across them every single day, watching

Report: Living and Dining Room Furniture September 2017, UK - Consumers increasingly likely to live in smaller homes, rent privately, and move home more frequently - 25-30 yr olds = the biggest spenders > 21% spending b/w £500-999 > 15% spending £1000+ - Purchasing peaks in the 1st year after buying a house > Replacement cycle every 6-10 yrs > Detached houses: 37% spent £1000+

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for the product launches and service innovations that will open new sectors or give fresh impetus to market growth. We do that because context is king. Our analysts don't look at consumer research or market data in isolation; they put it all together to identify the sweet spots those innovations will hit, how behavioural change will impact on spend. That enables us to produce the insights and recommendations you can take from our consumer market reports and feed directly into your business planning. Mintel Reports delivers more than 600 industry reports every year, covering the UK, US, Brazil and China.”

> Flats: only 12% spent £1000+ - Sofa = the most popular purchase - Special features: > 50% interested in hidden storage > 43% of flat dwellers are interested in modular sofas > 41% want a sofa easily dismantled for transport > 35% interested in sofa beds > 34% want dining chairs that fold flat for storage


Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

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Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

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FURNITURE RETAILING, UK - JULY 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

THE FURNITURE SECTOR HAS ENJOYED A NUMBER OF GOOD YEARS, BUT THE MARKET LOOKS SET TO BECOME MUCH MORE CHALLENGING. IT IS THEREFORE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER FOR FURNITURE RETAILERS TO ENSURE THEY HAVE A CLEAR POSITION IN THE MARKET, HIGHLIGHTING HOW THEY ARE DELIVERING VALUE FOR MONEY WHILE ENSURING THEY AVOID FALLING INTO THE DISCOUNTING TRAP. Thomas Slide, Retail Analyst

The market

FIGURE 1: CONSUMER SPEND ON FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS, 2012-22

Growth has slowed and challenges lie ahead

FURNITURE RETAILING UK, JULY 2017

Growth in consumer spending on furniture has slowed since hitting its peak of 12.2% in 2014. However, spending in 2015 and 2016 continued to hold up well, with growth of 9.3% and 5.7% respectively. However, economic indicators point towards a more challenging time ahead for the sector with inflation rising and the housing market showing signs of slowing. We therefore estimate that spending on furniture will grow by just 3.2% in 2017, with growth being largely driven by inflation while volume sales are expected to decline by 0.7%. Living and dining room furniture accounts for 40% of all furniture spending As the focal point of activity in the home, the living/dining room accounts for the largest share of total spending on furniture. By contrast, spending on beds and bedroom furniture accounts for around 19% of total spend. However, spending on beds and mattresses is more likely to be driven by need, either to fill a new bedroom or replace an old one, so the sector tends to be more resilient over the longer term as it is less vulnerable to shifts in consumer confidence than other furniture segments (see Mintel’s Bedrooms and Bedroom Furniture – UK, October 2016 Report.

Source: Office for National Statistics/Mintel

FIGURE 2: ESTIMATED CONSUMER SPENDING ON FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS, BY SEGMENT, 2016

Living includes: upholstery (eg sofas, couches, other upholstered furniture, eg foot stools) Dining includes: dining tables, dining chairs, sideboards and display cabinets Other living room furniture includes: coffee tables, side tables, TV furniture, cupboards, chests of drawers, wall units and bookshelves Beds and mattresses includes: base mattresses (divan), mattresses, bed frames Home office includes: desks, bureaus, fining cabinets, office shelving Other furniture and furnishings includes: lighting (eg ceiling lights, standard lamps, globe lights and bedside lamps), pictures, sculptures, engravings, tapestries and other art objects including reproductions of works of art and other ornaments, mirrors, candleholders and candlesticks, bathroom cabinets and bathroom furniture, kitchen cabinets, kitchen tables, baby furniture such as cradles, highchairs and playpens blinds; camping and garden furniture including conservatory furniture screens, folding partitions and other furniture and fixtures Includes delivery and installation when applicable Source: Mintel estimates

© Mintel Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

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FURNITURE RETAILING, UK - JULY 2017

A sector dominated by specialists

FIGURE 3: ESTIMATED CHANNELS OF DISTRIBUTION FOR FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS, 2016

Furniture retailing is well suited to specialist retailers because the majority of spending is accounted for by infrequent, high-value purchases where making the right decision and taking the right advice can be crucial. As a result, the store-based specialist retailers account for over 70% of all consumer spending on furniture.

FIGURE 5: ATTITUDES TOWARDS AND USAGE OF SELECTED BRANDS, MAY 2017

Advertising spend increases 3.9% DFS was the biggest spender on furniture advertising in 2016, spending £69.9 million, up 4.2% on the previous year and accounting for a quarter of all spending on furniture advertising. TV was by far the biggest channel for advertising furniture, accounting for some 62% of total advertising spend, while Press advertising came second, accounting for 27%.

Economic indicators signal a tougher year ahead * includes Argos, Next, Matalan, the Range and Dunelm Source: companies/Office for National Statistics/Mintel

FIGURE 4: LEADING RETAILERS OF FURNITURE, ESTIMATED SHARE OF ALL CONSUMER SPENDING ON FURNITURE, 2016

Figures from the Bank of England also show the number of mortgage approvals falling towards the end of 2016 and availability of consumer credit decreasing slightly in Q1 2017 as a result of tougher credit scoring criteria. Inflation is also now on the rise, and crucially it is currently exceeding wage growth, which will erode the spending power of consumers as time goes on.

TV was even more important among the leading advertisers; DFS was alone among the top 10 leading advertisers in spending less than 80% of its advertising expenditure on TV (65%).

Base: internet users aged 16+ who have heard of the brand Bubble size represents usage (% ever used) Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

FIGURE 6: WHAT THEY SPENT ON FURNITURE IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS, MAY 2017 “Approximately how much have you spent on furniture in the last 12 months?”

IKEA enjoys highest levels of trust and differentiation IKEA is the stand-out performer in our brand research, with it being seen as innovative and offering value for money. Oak Furniture Land also enjoys a reputation for quality, demonstrating the traction that its marketing message of solid wood furniture is gaining among consumers. Specialists Dreams and DFS trade on their perceived authoritative voice, but ScS struggles to define itself with a number of negative associations including being seen as tired and boring.

However, despite these negative warnings, over the longer term, the ongoing increase in the number of households in the UK should help to continue to add growth to the sector.

Companies and brands IKEA continues to experience strong growth The market leader has managed to continue growing sales in the UK with the first full-size new store in seven years opening in Reading in July 2016, alongside the opening of four order-and-collection stores and the relaunch of its website. Its new expansion phase will continue with the opening of a new store in Sheffield in 2017 followed by stores in Greenwich and Exeter opening in 2018.

Mini-stores bring furniture closer to consumers A number of furniture retailers have been looking at ways to bring physical stores closer to where consumers live. IKEA has opened four Order-and-Collection stores, DFS has introduced mini-format stores, Habitat is expanding with shops-in-shops in Sainsbury’s stores, while ScS has been expanding the number of concessions it operates in House of Fraser department stores.

The smaller, online-focused retailers have had a real impact by introducing customers to a new way of shopping for furniture. Many, including Made.com, Loaf and Sofa.com, have now opened physical showrooms to expand their reach. However, despite their impact on how consumers shop for furniture, they remain small, accounting for around 3% of total spending on furniture.

The total number of housing transactions has remained relatively flat over the past two years, however in the first four months of 2017 they were down 4.1% compared to the same period in 2016.

4

FURNITURE RETAILING, UK - JULY 2017

The consumer Services are included as part of sales for some items such as fitting kitchens and bathrooms, but are not included in the consumer spending estimates Source: Mintel estimates

DFS has also continued to grow sales by implementing a strategy of converting instore warehouse space into retail-selling space by centralising its warehousing operations. This has also enabled the © Mintel Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

introduction of 17 co-located stores, including 15 Dwell outlets and two Sofa Worksop outlets attached to existing DFS stores.

62% of consumers bought furniture in the past year While 62% made a furniture purchase in the past year, 51% of those who made a purchase spent less than £500. Spending peaks among the 25-34 age group

Base: 2,000 internet users aged 16+ Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

as first-home buyers furnish their first property. Housing tenure has a major impact on furniture spend, with 26% of those living

in rented accommodation spending less than £250 on furniture compared to 16% of homeowners. By contrast, 18% of homeowners spent over £2,000 compared to just 5% of renters.

© Mintel Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

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FURNITURE RETAILING, UK - JULY 2017

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FURNITURE RETAILING, UK - JULY 2017

Living rooms the most popular to buy for

FIGURE 7: ROOMS THEY BOUGHT FURNITURE FOR IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS, MAY 2017

Argos is the most popular for furniture purchases

FIGURE 9: WHERE THEY SHOPPED FOR FURNITURE IN THE PAST YEAR, MAY 2017

Some 34% of furniture shoppers made a purchase for their living room in the past year compared to 32% who bought something for their bedroom. Just 12% bought for a dining room and 7% for a home office.

“For which rooms in your home have you bought furniture in the last 12 months?”

31% of furniture shoppers made a purchase from Argos in the past year, making it the most popular single retailer for furniture, with IKEA coming close behind, attracting 28% of furniture shoppers.

“From which retailers have you bought furniture in the last 12 months?”

56% of those who bought their home in the past three years bought furniture for more than one room. This figure declines the longer they live in the property, with just 24% of homeowners who have lived in their property over 10 years having bought for multiple rooms.

The furniture sector is highly fragmented, with a long tail of retailers many of which specialise in specific types of furniture. The largest of the furniture specialist is DFS, but just 10% of furniture shoppers made a purchase from the sofa retailer in the past year.

In-store purchasing still most popular

IKEA shoppers love the in-store displays

63% of furniture buyers made a purchase in-store compared to 52% who made an online purchase in the past year.

IKEA shoppers are slightly more satisfied than the average furniture shopper and are particularly impressed by the product displays and range of products available. By contrast, Argos and Amazon shoppers show higher levels of satisfaction with more functional aspects of the shopping experience such as ease of returns and cost or speed of delivery.

Base: 1,231 internet users aged 16+ who have bought furniture in the last 12 months

In-store purchasing is more popular for larger purchases, with 41% of in-store shoppers spending over £750 compared to 33% of online shoppers. Given the option, it is clear that consumers still prefer to visit a store if they can, and in-store purchases are highest among those living in urban areas, particularly London.

Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

FIGURE 8: HOW THEY BOUGHT FURNITURE IN THE PAST YEAR, MAY 2017 “How have you bought furniture in the last 12 months?”

Base: 1,231 internet users that have shopped for furniture in the past 12 months Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

FIGURE 10: SATISFACTION WITH FURNITURE RETAILERS, MAY 2017 “When shopping for furniture at [the retailer you spent the most with], how satisfied were you with each of the following?”

Base: 1,231 internet users aged 16+ who have bought furniture in the past year Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

Base: internet users aged 16+ who shopped for furniture in the past 12 months and expressed an opinion for each option Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

© Mintel Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

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© Mintel Group Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

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FURNITURE RETAILING, UK - JULY 2017

60% visit stores to carry out research A physical store is the most popular destination to carry out research into furniture ideas, but this is closely followed by the websites of retailers, which are used by 58% of consumers looking for ideas.

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FURNITURE RETAILING, UK - JULY 2017

FIGURE 11: SOURCES USED TO RESEARCH FURNITURE IDEAS, MAY 2017

FIGURE 12: ATTITUDES TOWARDS SHOPPING FOR FURNITURE, MAY 2017

“When buying furniture in the future, which of these sources would you consider using to research ideas?”

“Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Over half of Amazon shoppers say they would visit a store to carry out research, while John Lewis shoppers are significantly more likely than others to seek out furniture inspiration in magazines or at exhibitions such as the Ideal Home Show. Two thirds interested in spacesaving solutions Rising rents and house prices combined with a trend towards living in households with fewer people has led to a rise in the number of people living in smaller dwellings. With less space available, it becomes increasingly important to utilise that space effectively and it is IKEA that is addressing this need most effectively.

Base: 1,231 internet users aged 16+ who have bought furniture in the last 12 months Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

DFS shoppers are impressed by Britishmade furniture while those who shop at John Lewis are most likely to say they enjoy planning furniture purchases as well as saying it is worth paying more for furniture that will last longer.

Base: 1,231 internet users aged 16+ who have bought furniture in the last 12 months Source: Lightspeed/Mintel

What we think Low prices are always important for consumers, but what is even more imperative is getting the best value for money and this is particularly true for highvalue purchases like furniture. Consumers need to have trust in products before they commit to a purchase and

© Mintel Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

this means they will carry out research online to decide what stores to visit to test their shortlisted items. Having an easily navigable range on both channels is now essential for any furniture retailer. Demand looks set to lessen over the coming 12 months and this will make it even more important that retailers highlight their unique credentials in terms of trust,

quality or expertise to stand out from the competition. However, over the longer term, the sector will continue to grow, with the number of households in the UK continuing its long-term rise alongside a growing desire for furniture that is more multi-functional to make better use of space in smaller dwellings.

© Mintel Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

HOUSING STATS ENGLISH HOUSING SURVEY 2016-17 (Published January 2018)

Following the findings in the Mintel report, it was important to me to look up the housing stats in order to verify and ground the research which Mintel put forth.

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PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR

- This sector has more than doubled in size since 2002 - Currently 4.7 million renters (20% of all households)

35-44 YEAR OLDS

- 52% are owner/occupiers > However this has gone down from 72% in 2006 - 29% are in the private rented sector > This has gone up from 11% in 2006

25-34 YEAR OLDS

- 46% live in the private rented sector > However this has gone up from 27% in 2006 - Home owners in this age range has gone down 20% > From 57% to 37% since 2006

USABLE FLOOR AREA

- Most dwellings in the private rented sector have a usable floor space of only 50-89 m2 > Compared to 100 m2 or more for home owners

English Housing Survey Headline Report, 2016-17


Research:

MINTEL REPORTS + SLEEP ELEMENT

A couple years ago, Duresta was working with a foam company and German spring company to develop a cushion that housed these plastic springs from the bedding industry. This collaboration would have meant that we were the first furniture business which utilised this technology. It was an innovative and eco-friendly solution to a seat suspension and the springs were made of recycled plastic. They dropped the idea however as there wasn’t enough time to fully develop the product and there were hesitations that they were conducive to a ‘luxury’ filling which Duresta traditionally provided. My plan was to pick up where they left off and create a mattress/ sofa base that was constructed this way.

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Research:

DESIGN PREPARATION

As preparation for the design, I spent 2 weeks of my own time in the factory at Duresta, shadowing different aspects of manufacturing process. I spoke with the people who install the seat springs and told them my ideas of having serpentine springs be attached to a metal frame and asked their opinion of the possibility of this. They explained the springs to me and took me through the installation process to help me better understand what I had to work with. I spent time with different upholsterers to better understand the process and craft of upholstery. I was given a little crash course in foam and learned about the different densities and the reflex possibilities of them. I tested out the cushion with plastic springs to see how comfortable it was and how it felt sitting on it. I took a trip to Ikea to see how their flat pack & sofa beds were constructed, paying particular attention to Tom Dixon’s Delaktig.

Finally, I spent the majority of those preparatory weeks in the product development area. The team was developing a new product for the Salone del Mobile in Milan, and I decided it would be beneficial to watch the entire process from start to finish. From sketch, to frame building, to foam specs, templating, cutting & sewing, costing, etc. While up there, I was able to as the seamstress to test out the ‘reveal piping’ detail to see if it was something we could do in house. I explained my idea of the brackets sandwiched between two bits of plywood as a frame to the development frame maker, and he bodged up a test piece to explain how it should be made to work best. I also did some full scale testing with standard pillow and duvet sizes to fully understand how I should create my cushions.

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Research

DESIGN PREPARATION

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Research

DESIGN PREPARATION

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Research

DESIGN PREPARATION

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Research

DESIGN PREPARATION

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Sketch &

IDEATION

Onto the drawing board, I started sketching ideas for my design, focusing on a metal base which would act as the structure for my sofa. The original idea was to adapt a metal plinth that Duresta currently uses to have serpentine springs welded onto it to create the seat suspension and a base to clip on

arms/backs. Most of the designs featured separate structural frames and loose cushions while the idea of customisable configurations was explored. The idea of leather straps came from a need for structure at the top of the separate arms and backs which were only clipped onto the base.

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Sketch &

IDEATION

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Sketch &

IDEATION

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Sketch &

IDEATION

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Sketch &

IDEATION

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

The basis of the design is upon this metal plinth (original design pictured to the left) which I would customise to suit my design. The following pages show some of the process of the design developing and adapting as ideas were tested and new solutions were needed. The corner plates pictured to the left were dropped to be flush to the bottom of the plinth. The idea of this was that it would house an MDF board atop of which would go my sofa base. The arms would have brackets which would wrap around the plinth and

be screwed into place. The development of these would change over the course of the project in order to add structure to the corners, and to account for ease of manufacture. Eventually, it was clear that cross supports with centre legs needed to be added to provide further structure to the plinth. The legs were centred to allow them to be hidden, and were 3mm shorted than the corner legs to account for uneven floors so that the sofa didn’t balance on the centre legs and bow out.

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

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Design

DEVELOPMENT

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Frame &

TECHNICAL DRAWINGS

It was important to create really detailed and accurate technical drawings as I was going to be working with several manufacturers to create parts for my design. In certain cases, it was not possible to meet in person so it was crucial that my drawings were clear and communicated all the details of my design.

I not only created drawings for the frame, but also for the leather straps and foam mattress. Further along the progress of the project, I also needed to create technical drawings for all my cutting/sewing templates and sewing instructions, and my foam kit.

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Working with

MANUFACTURERS

In order to bring my sofa design to life, the team at Duresta introduced me to several manufacturers which they work with in order to get my components produced. Because my design was much more conceptual, and was comprised of different kinds of components than a standard sofa, I had to rely on external manufacturers to help produce the parts which we were not equipped to make in our factory. This meant lots of meetings, site visits, phone calls, and emails. Because my time frame was tight, it

also meant a lot of project management on my part in order to ensure everything was efficient and on time. I was able to learn a lot from this experience as I got to see how other companies worked and a bit about the services they provide. It also helped my communication and time management skills as I was relying on external sources to manufacture bits for me, so I had to be really clear in precise on my design and expectations.

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Working with manufacturers:

METAL WORKERS

The basis of my design was on a metal plinth frame which would provide the structure for my sofa. The way in which we normally source our metal plinths/ legs is by working with a company in Italy where we design something to suit the particular model. However, this is a very lengthy process and would not be possible in the given months of this project. However, the possibility of adapting an existing metal plinth that we have in stock to suit my design was certainly achievable. Thus, I was introduced to a metal work company that had done some small welding jobs for us in the past. The entire process took about 3 weeks, starting with an initial meeting where my idea was explained with some CAD rendered visuals and basic technical drawings. I was kindly given a tour of the entire facility which helped me understand a bit about what sort of things they can do. Over the weeks, I

went down to the workshop several times to speak with the welder and finalise any details/ clear up any issues. We discussed having the plinth be pop-riveted using riv-nuts, in order for the holes to be threaded. The welder brought up concerns with being able to bend my brackets at the angles I needed, around the radiuses of the plinth. We decided to scrap the bend, and settle on a simple L bracket to sit atop of and be screwed into the plinth. I brought up my concerns with the brackets needing more strength added at the corners, thus we decided on adding in a couple of gussets to strengthen the job, The entire process required a lot of back and forth, detailed technical drawings, and project management in order to make sure that everything was on track for my tight deadline.

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Working with manufacturers:

METAL WORKERS

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Working with manufacturers:

METAL WORKERS

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Working with manufacturers:

METAL WORKERS

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Working with manufacturers:

METAL WORKERS

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Working with manufacturers:

METAL WORKERS

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Working with manufacturers:

METAL WORKERS

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Working with manufacturers:

LEATHER COMPANY

I was put in contact with one of our leather suppliers which was told could create my leather straps for me. My original idea was to have two pieces of leather glued and stitched together and the Domus logo embossed into it. The ends would have press studs that would be screwed into my arm/’back frame.

I was advised that instead of using the normal leather we upholster our sofas with, that I should use saddle leather which would be thicker and stronger for what I needed it for. I provided a detailed technical drawing showing the exact radius I needed, as well as placement and size of the logo embossing.

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Working with manufacturers:

LEATHER COMPANY

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Working with manufacturers:

LEATHER COMPANY

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Working with manufacturers:

FOAM COMPANY

I set up a meeting with the sales representative of the foam company that Duresta deals with to discuss my project. I provided him with detailed technical drawings of what I was trying to achieve, along with samples of the foam cut and plastic

springs. We discussed the densities of foam needed and time scale. He was happy with the technical drawings I provided so the project was able to start immediately. A couple of weeks later I received my sample and a costing for future orders

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Working with manufacturers:

FOAM COMPANY

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Working with manufacturers:

FOAM COMPANY

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Working with manufacturers:

CNC COMPANY

I met with a local joiner who had a CNC machine to discuss my need for a MDF board to act as a base for sofa. We discussed types of MDF and settled on moisture resistant being the best for the job. I provided technical drawings and DXF files and my board was cut the next week.

We decided that as this was a student project, he would only charge me for materials and the cost to run the machine. Originally I had wanted the black MDF however, it was much too expensive. We decided it would be cheapest for me to have the board cut by him, and then I would paint and lacquer it myself.

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Frame

ASSEMBLY

My design for the frame assembly was to have it CNC’d. However, as we do not have a CNC at Duresta and I was fortunate enough to have the resource of a frame maker at my disposal, we cut and routed the plywood pieces by hand.

were countersunk into the frame to hide the bulk of the bolts/ t-nuts and then t-nuts hammered into the ply. The panels were glued and stapled together (channel sides together), the brackets slid in from the bottom and whole thing was bolted together.

The routing was done to carve some weight out of the heavy plywood panels, and to also provide slots for the brackets to sit. Slots were cut to provide a space for the gussets of the brackets to sit. Holes

The MDF panel had t-nuts knocked into it and it was placed within the metal plinth and bolted all together.

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Frame

ASSEMBLY

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Frame

ASSEMBLY

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Frame

ASSEMBLY

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Frame

ASSEMBLY

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Mattress

ASSEMBLY

Once my CNC foam cut arrived, I was able to test putting the plastic springs into the holes to see what types of tensions worked best. The plan was to have the softer springs in the middle, with the firmer springs on the perimeter, in order to allow the user to sink into the mattress, providing a slight rake for the seat while painting a flat surface (ideal for modular sofas). Once I was happy with my spring placement, I cut some heavy duty fleece to size and glued this on top of the springs. This was done to discourage the plastic springs from breaking through the foam. Because you could still feel the springs through this, we decided to put some TB5 carpet felt on top of this, which is like a fibre dacron with a stiff core. This provided some more softness, and more pronounced dome on the cushion, and the stiff core

prevented the springs from being felt. A foam sheet was glued on top of this and dacron wrapped and glued around it all. Once the cushion was made up, I measured around it to figured out a sewing template, allowing for a border, a flat bottom, and a dome on top. This was cut and sewn and assembled. From this template, I was able to adapt it to create a template for the actual fabric. The difference with this is that I designed the zip to be underneath the mattress to allow the possibility of the mattress being shown at any angle. This was important as a key element to my design was that the arms/backs could be clipped on at any point around the perimeter of the base, meaning that the base needed to look the same all the way around it.

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Mattress

ASSEMBLY

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CNC foam cut delivered

Plastic spring tension testing

Glue high density fleece on top of springs to avoid the springs breaking through the foam

Glue carpet felt atop the fleece to avoid feeling the springs poke through


Mattress

ASSEMBLY

View of build up of high density fleece and carpet felt atop of the foam and springs

1� foam is glued atop of all of this

View of the dome created by this build up

Dacron is glued atop of the 1� foam to create more softness and a more pronounced dome

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Mattress

ASSEMBLY

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Dacron edges were glued up onto the side of the foam to create a seamless edge

Worked out measurements for a template and cut interliner for a cushion case

Case sewn up with zip

Mattress was filled into case, making sure border was straight


Mattress

ASSEMBLY

View of the edge, with one seamless border at the corners

From the cushion template, worked out a template for the fabric

Cut fabric to template

Cover sewn up and mattress filled

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Cutting &

SEWING

Because my design was a solid base with several loose cushions, cutting and sewing was a huge part of the manufacturing process of my prototype. I had to learn the process of templating and learning how to draw the 2D templates to form covers for 3D shapes. What was especially challenging was sorting out the angle and curves needed in the fabric in order to account for any ‘domes’ or curves in the cushion. Curved corners and pleats were also challenging as it all had to be accurately measured to make sure the shape and amount of fabric was adequate to create the desired cushion shape from only the sewing. I was fortunate enough to be working with our development machinist who was very patient and helpful in sewing my oddly shaped cushions, and provided lots of help and support. Because I was doing all of this for the first time and trying to do it to the spec which Duresta would template and cut their own fabric, it was definitely a challenge. I showed her drawings and put together prototypes so she understood what I was trying to achieve, and

together we pulled it off! Once my templates were finalised, I had to convert them into CAD drawings by tracing them on with special software that Duresta uses. From there I was able to sort out my fabric lay in order to get the most efficiency out of the fabric and find out the meterage required from the job. From this CAD lay, I was also able to figure out the perimeters of the job to find out how much it would cost in labour to cut and sew it. This was done by figuring out many metres are in the perimeters of the pieces and the number of components. This data is input into a spread sheet which sorts out a formula to decide how much the job is worth. Finally, I drew up the templating shapes a final time in Photoshop, and worked with our development machinist to create an instruction manual for the sewing. In theory, this would be given to the machinists alongside the job and should be very detailed in what kind of stitches and work is required in the sewing.

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Cutting &

SEWING

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Cutting &

SEWING

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Cutting &

SEWING

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Cutting &

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Arm & Back

UPHOLSTERY

The only elements of my design which required upholstery were the arm and back pieces. I worked with our development upholsterer to find out what exactly was required from the shape of the cover for him to upholster the arms. Once this was all templated, cut and sewn up, it was ready for upholstery.

to ensure the border was straight. Again, slits were cut around the exposed brackets and stapled off to create a neat finish. Scrap fabric was stapled along the edge of the bracket to hide the hole that was created from the slits. The opening was stapled closed and a crocodile strip was stapled across the bottom.

Essentially, it had to be upholstered twice because it required a fire retardant interliner. This was capped on and slits were cut for the bracket and the edges stapled off to avoid any bulk. This actual cover was capped on over this, and pulled over tight

The fabric was carefully pushed beneath the ‘teeth’ of the strip and excess cut off. Once the expose fabric was full under the strip, it was hammered down carefully to avoid any excess bulk. This left a really clean line and finish on the bottom.

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Arm & Back

UPHOLSTERY

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Arm & Back

UPHOLSTERY

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Arm & Back

UPHOLSTERY

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Arm & Back

UPHOLSTERY

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Arm & Back

UPHOLSTERY

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Arm & Back

UPHOLSTERY

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Iterations &

DETAILING

The major problem that we anticipated and eventually came across was that there would be too much flex in the arm/back pieces only being fixed from the bottom plinth. The leather straps were brought in early in the design process, hoping that these would provide enough structure to stop this from being a huge problem. However, once the frame was actually assembled and the arm/back pieces screwed on, it was clear that there was a lot more flex than anticipated. This was counteracted by designing a metal bracket which looked like one of the leather straps to go on the inside corner where the arm/back pieces meet. I was able to source a an asymmetrical corner bracket which fit the dimensions of the corner perfectly. I then measured, cut, and covered the metal in matching leather and cut holes for screws. This was screwed in with a press stud end covering the screw, so that not only did the visual language of it matched the other straps perfectly, but the press stud cap could hide the screw. This was the perfect solution and provided enough structure for the design to work. Another issue I encountered was that the original design for the feather topper was just to house a folded duvet. Unfortunately when I filled the duvet inside the case, it looked quite limp and ‘bumpy’ from the feathers-- almost like a half empty bag.

Furthermore, it was quite difficult to fill the duvet into the case without it folding along on itself. The solution to both of these problems was to have a foam core for the duvet which it would be wrapped around and secured with toggles. This would not only provide more structure for the cushion to be filled, but added more bulk to the cushion, allowing it to look more inviting. Furthermore, the first version of the side cushion was quite similar to a pillow case housing a standard sized pillow. Once it was sewn however, it looked much too square with point-y corners. This was counteracted by adding curved corners and pleats which looked much better. However, once the entire sofa was assembled with all the cushions filled, it was clear that the cushion was much too large for the design and looked out of place. A third iteration of the cushion was made, this time much shorter with a border to take the bulk of the feather. The final problem encountered was that the back cushion looked much too large and a bit too stiff. This was solved by cutting a good 3.5” off the width of the inner foam cushion, and adapting the sewing an templates to match. This allowed for the cushion to be much more relaxed, soft and inviting.

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DETAILING

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IMPROVEMENTS TO THE DESIGN

If I were to make this project again from scratch with the allowance of more time and resource, there are a few things I would change. The main one being the design of the metal plinth. If I were able to build a plinth with flat cross bars at the sections where the pop-riveted holes were, this would provide the necessary structure to the plinth making the whole assembly stronger. I would argue that this would make the addition of the centre legs unnecessary, as well as the MDF board. This design would not only add structure, but reduce the weight significantly. The mattress would sit atop of the metal bars, being inset by 15mm into the plinth. This would allow for it to be more secure into the design and perhaps not need the fabric straps that I had added in.

The next improvement would be to have the metal bracket be a mix of the first and final version of the design. Originally, I wanted the bracket to wrap around the plinth to not only allow the user to locate the frame easily onto the plinth, but to allow for further structure and less flex with the arm/back pieces were assembled. This design was abandoned when the welder I was working with told me he couldn’t bend the piece at the appropriate radiuses and that it would be better to have a flat ‘L-shape’ bracket. However, upon showing my design to several other people, they advised me that it was in fact possible and they knew people that could do this for me

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