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contents 01 - the brief 02 - understanding the brief 03 - secondary research: the housing market 04 - secondary research: the workforce 05 - users & trends: mid-century modern 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 -

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -

research section

the brief The brief for this project has been set by SCP, founded in 1985 by Sheridan Coakley as a British manufacturer and retailer of modern furniture. Coakley started selling classic and hard to ďŹ nd pieces and 30 years later, SCP still designs and sells functional, beautiful and made to last products.

01 The SCP brief is based on their Boxed Product Collection; namely, small, stand-alone pieces of furniture that are seen as affordable, carry away impulse buys. This fulďŹ ls the design-savvy consumer’s desire to buy into a respected and high quality design brand, by purchasing a single small piece of furniture without the need to invest in an entire range or in multiples (such as with dining chairs etc). Production costs will need to be high on the design agenda, as any potential retailer will tell you that these items are perceived to have a price point beyond which the clientele will not venture. This could be any small piece of furniture, from an occasional table stool, a small piece, a coat rack or hallway piece, a bedside table, nesting tables etc but you should also investigate current changes in lifestyle and emerging trends, and design appropriately.

uNDERSTANDING the brief The whole purpose of the Boxed Product collection by SPC is to create a range of smaller products that customers could buy in store and leave with a box under their arm or can be shipped by a standard courier service for home delivery. For the user this preys on the current need for convenience. In the world of the consumer, convenience is a huge priority. They want more for less and for less to do much more. Consumers want the flexibility of these products to fit in with the more nomadic lifestyle of the younger generations. The item that is created should be easy to move around; with many people renting in the current economy people are moving much more frequently. The product should also be able to fit in wherever they chose to move to so should be flexible in which room it must go in. the type of products SCP produces and sells are going to be more upmarket than the likes of IKEA, the consumers should want to take this product with them to their new home.


Secondary research: the housing market One of the prevalent trends affecting consumers at the minute is the change in the house market. In the time that SCP has been a company the shift in houses towards the rental market has been massive. This is a very important area to research and understand as it affects the consumers drastically, from their level of income, space in their home and also general flexibility to do what they want – all of these things affect buying habits particularly in larger and more expensive markets like furniture. In order to find out more about the housing market detailed secondary research was carried out from mainly online sources to get an idea of how consumers are being affected. This is summarised right and then analysed to ensure the product that is designed to meet the brief and considers consumer trends. Kollewe, J., 2017. Quarter of households in UK will rent privately by end of 2021, says report. The Guardian [online]. Accessed: 5th October 2018. Available at:

03 1 in 4 households will rent privately by 2021

Soaring house prices and stagnant wages put house buying out of reach

Aprx 5 million households (21%) are privately rented and this is set to rise another 24% over the next five years

The proportion of households renting in the private sector has doubled over the past 10 years

68% of renters still expect to be renting in three years time

Young professionals aged 25-34 make up the largest proportion of private renters

Much information can be inferred and learnt from the facts regarding the current housing market. First of all, the increase in the rental market has many implications. it means that people will have less disposable income as more money is coming out of their account every month and is not invested in the same way a mortgage is. They also have less freedom to do with they want with a house in terms of colour schemes and permanent furniture and more than likely they have less space than someone with a mortgage as renting is often used as a ladder step before buying a property. The last two points mean that the furniture they buy needs to be more variable in function and aesthetically not overbearing as it should be easy to fit into a variety of decorated rooms. Secondly the fact that young professionals make up the majority of the market and the fact that, looking at SCPs marketing strategies, they are also trying to appeal to young professionals, the product designed would have to be considerate of cost, aesthetics and function to appeal to the market.

Secondary research: the workforce Another of he prevalent trends affecting consumers at the minute is the shift in work patterns and types. Since the end of the 20th century and the widespread use of computers and technology, more people than ever are working from home. This has seen a rise in the sales of home office equipment and a need for these to be more and more versatile as houses being built are getting smaller. Though this is a relatively big market in the furniture department, needs are changing all of the time so it is important to understand the current situation and know the changes in trends. In order to understand this and possibly take advantage of this in the design of a Boxed Collection product, research into trends in working and the workforce has been carried out. The findings are as shown right. High Speed Office, 2020. 50% of UK workforce to work remotely by 2020 [online]. London, High Speed Office. Available at: . [date accessed 5th October 2018].

04 In 2015, 4.2 million people across a range of sectors worked from home.

Between 2012 and 2016, flexi-time has risen by 12.35 per cent.

The number of UK workers who have moved into remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over a decade.

Half the UK workforce expected to be working remotely by 2020

A large amount of information can be learnt from the main stats regarding the change in the UK workforce. With over 4 million people in the UK working from home it is evident that home office wear is going to be high sellers in the furniture department. However much of the home office wear available is not very adjustable for different locations or uses and is also large. Although a big size of furniture is very good for people who have large houses but it cuts many people out of the market, especially people in smaller houses, including young professionals. With over half of the UK expected to be working at home by 2020 it is essential that this is improved. Also, many people who currently work from home and do not have an existing home office use communal spaces like their dining room table. However, these do not come with any storage and often people have to acquire other storage to put their work equipment in, taking up even more space in already small houses. This must be taken into account if the home office route is taken when completing this brief and storage should be supplied without the end product being too large or too small to function.

users & trends: Mid-century modern

05 Mid-century modern is a design movement in interior, product, graphic design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1945 to 1975. Mid-century design is often free-form, unpredictable and owing in appearance as well as commonly using natural materials. It embraces the sensibility of clean, easy to maintain and functional living spaces, keeping a clean and simple aesthetic. This has massively been brought back into fashion over recent years due to a new minimalistic and excess-free lifestyle that many younger people lead. This has been partially to do with the push on having a clean and sustainable environment free of waste, which is what mid-century inspired modern furniture design aspires to achieve. Iconic designs like The Noguchi Table and The Ottoman Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames are examples of mid-century modern furniture that are quickly becoming very popular again and reaching a peak in their value.

users & trends: concrete

06 Many people are choosing to include concrete in their interiors, including in the flooring, walls, furniture and other interior product. One of the reasons for this is it is particularly easy to maintain. Not only this, but the rough, porous, pumice like texture that concrete has gives visual interest and adds texture to many products and is a change from more traditional, mainstream materials. its neutral colour and variety of finishes allow it to fit seamlessly in many homes and rooms as subtle additions to the décor. SCP has a number of products that have been produced as a result of the concrete design trend including the Terrazzo Side Tables and the Stratton Plant Pots. This is clearly an area of manufacturing that they have already ventured into so including concrete in the product for this brief would be a possibility. It is not only SCP that are venturing into using concrete, many of its competitors including John Lewis and Heals are also producing concrete furniture products and accessories. Mastroeni, T., 2018. Why Concrete Is 2018’s Next Big Thing in Interior Design [online]. Romania: Freshome. Available at: [accessed 5th October 2018].

users & trends: nomadic

07 This trend is a combination of many things; a diverse blend of global patterns and different culturally inspired materials and textures like rattan. The rich tones and rugged textures give the authentic, truly global and crafter style. Not only this but the nomadic trend also encompasses furniture types for the on the go lifestyle, something that SCP has really embraced and was the purpose behind their Boxed Collection furniture range. Pieces of furniture classed as nomadic often have dual purpose so they minimise the amount of different furniture pieces consumers need. They also tend to be unobtrusive to look at with rich wood tones blending in to a number of different environments so it can be taken with consumers when they move house. Nomadic furniture is also smaller than most furniture for that ease of movability that is prevalent in the SCP Boxed Collection. Examples of furniture from this nomadic style by SCP include The Ulrik Stool by Alex Hellum and the Calvo Side Table by Lee Kirkbride Kelly, T., 2018. Home decor trends for Autumn/Winter 2018 [online]. London: Ideal Home Magazine. Available at: [accessed 5th October 2018].

Existing product analysis In order to get an idea of the specific target market that SCP are aiming for, a detailed product analysis has been carried out of some of their more popular products. The different aspects and details of each of the designs and the considerations that have been taken into account when designing them should help piece together an accurate representation of the consumers that they are aiming for. The resulting consumer profile can be verified upon visiting SCP and then used during the concept generation and product development to ensure the product is consistent with existing SCP practice and values. This will help to ensure a successful product that fits into the SCP line.


Existing product analysis The first product that will be analysed is the Quick Step Stool by Sarah Kay:

09 Aesthetics – this stool has a simple look but is perfectly formed. The steps are slightly recessed which give a little bit of added detail and also aid the multi-functionality of the product. The clear definition of the pieces used to make the product, highlighted by the grain of the wood, give a handmade and crafted feel to it. This coupled with the use of a medium-dark hardwood give a high perceived value and high quality feel. Cost – the cost of this item is currently £170. This price is reasonable for that of a high quality product and gives that perceived high quality to the piece, giving it a selling point. This process range is out of reach of people with a low disposable income (so students and new graduates) and would not interest people who are not design savvy as the cost to them is not justified. Ergonomics – the handle feature cut into the top of the step gives added character as well as aiding the lifting. The recessed step also makes you less likely to catch yourself on it as you walk past or as you use it while subtly adding personality. Style – at first glance the style of this step is overwhelmingly simple and clean cut which gives it that feeling of mid-century modern inspired work. However, small details like the recessed step, the filleting of the edges of the A frame and the cut out section of the step give it surprising unpredictability. Size – this stool measure exactly 400x400x400mm which fits the Boxed Project idea as something that is small enough to be carried away and also is small enough to be put in a plethora of situations in housing, including small rental accommodation. Function – all of the finer details that give it the mid-century modern aesthetic also assist the multi-functionality of the product. The step allows it to be used not just as a stepping aid but also as a side table with the step turning into a shelf and as a stool with the step acting as foot rest. The fact that the design is so simple mean there are no aspects of it that hinder any one of its functions. This multi functionality fits perfectly into the nomadic trend that SCP have embraced in recent years. Materials – the Quick Step stool has been made from solid oak, an expensive, medium-dark hardwood. This suits the function perfectly as its high density allows it to withstand weight and pressure during use while still being easy to shape with typical tools and machinery (keeping manufacturing costs as low as they can be). The use of a darker, more expensive hardwood gives a higher perceived value to the consumer and makes them more willing to pay the inevitably higher-than-usual price for a high quality product.

Existing product analysis The second product that will be analysed is the Crosscut Coat Hooks by Faudet-Harrison.

10 Aesthetics – This design is ingeniously minimal, made of one single piece of steel and 3-7 cylindrical pieces of solid oak. The fact that the manufacturing process can be seen gives a high perceived value as it feels crafted rather than mass produced as other furniture does. The simplicity of the design is conforms with products inspired by the mid-century modern movement that is very popular currently. The use of the medium-dark oak again adds to this perceived value and justifies a high cost. Cost – the cost of this item is currently £90 for the seven hook rack. This price is reasonable for a very high quality crafted product and adds to this high value perception it gives consumers. This cost again, similarly to the Quick Step Stool, puts it out of reach of people with low disposable income and those who are not design savvy as they will not be willing to pay the premium prices that SCP ask for their products. Ergonomics – ergonomically, very little has been done to the product in design. This lack of adaptation in this case actually adds to the ingenious simplicity of the design, conforming with that MCM movement and minimalism that is so fashionable at the moment. Style – as previously mentioned the main style point of this design is the simplicity of it. In addition to this, the fact you can see all of the component and how it was made gives it an industrial and minimalist feel as well as giving a high perceived quality as the consumer can see exactly how the product has been made. The juxtaposition of the natural form and organic shape of the oak pegs against the geometric and industrial form of the steel frame gives the design a lot of character which would be appreciate by design-savvy consumers. Size – this product measures 90x90x(360-840)mm. the variability in the sizing makes it suitable for a wide range of consumers and settings within the home as well as making it just small enough to be bought as an impulse buy and carried home easily. Function – although this product only has one function, hanging, its simplicity means it can be used to hand a variety of products in a variety of different setting. Opening itself to more potential buyers improves the commercial viability of the product. Materials – the use of high quality materials like oak and steel give the product weight and also a high perceived value. Also, the customer can see that the price is justified by the high quality materials used and therefore they do not feel cheated out of money, rather thinking that the company offers good value for money. People are therefore more likely to buy into SCP as a company.

Existing product analysis The third and final product that will be analysed is the Side Table by Jasper Morrison.

10 Aesthetics – This design is a clear exercise in the art of refinement. Made from a single piece of shaped glass and hand formed steel, the manufacturing and assembly processes are evident. The simplicity of the design but using high quality material and processes is indistinguishable from products designed during the MCM movement that is very popular at the minute. Cost – The cost of this product is currently £488 for the two tier table and £335 for the one tier version. Similarly to the other two SCP products the high cost gives the consumer a high perceived value and quality of the product but puts the product out of reach of lower income people. Ergonomics – Very little has been done ergonomically to these products in design with the exception of the table heights and the two tiers adding variation in the usability and also aesthetics. The simplicity of the product and lack of very detailed parts is classic SCP and is what gives it that mid-century modern feel. Style – The main style point of these tables are their simplicity. It’s clear how they are made and the combination of the clear glass and the solid steel frame is an interesting juxtaposition that would be appreciated by design-savvy customers as well as indicating a high quality. Size – This product is 650mm tall with a diameter of 440mm for the two tier and the single tier is 460mm tall. Both of these sizes fit into the size limitations of the SCP Boxed Collection in that they are small enough to carry away on the day and to put in a number of places but not too small that they don’t function. Function - This product only has one function, as a side table but the versatility of it comes in the simplicity as it can be placed in a variety of different areas of the home. Materials – The side tables use high quality materials including glass and steel in its manufacture. The known quality and weight of the materials give it a high perceived value and would allow the price point to be pushed up- increasing the profit potential. Also this use of high quality materials would justify a higher price point to the consumer and thus they do not feel cheated out of money but that the company gives good value for money.

Existing product analysis

11 Overall from analysis of this product a number of inferences about the target consumer can be made: •They have a fair amount of disposable income so are willing to pay higher prices for high quality pieces of furniture rather than going to Ikea. •That they are design savvy so appreciate the form and inspiration in the products and see past what regular people would see, focusing on the finer detail. •That they could be in rented accommodation and therefore need a multifunctional, smaller product that they can take with them for house to house. All of this is backed up by the housing demographic in London – where SCP are based. The number of people who live in London that own a home has dropped to just 28%* as of 2016 backing up the need for movable, small pieces of furniture that are adaptable so people can take them with them when they move.

As well as this a number of facts about typical SCP pieces of furniture can be inferred: •Typically simple in form with hidden details. •Manufacturing detailing evident as it gives high perceived value, allowing the price point to be raised and making more potential for profts. •High quality materials used to push up the price point and justify it to the consumer so that they do not feel like they are being cheated by the company. •Unobtrusive colours used to blend in to many environments so it suits the maximum number of users possible and increasing the profit potential. •Multifunctional – at least one of two functions and versatile enough to put in a variety of places. Most or all of these features should be present in the product designed for this brief to fit in with the SCP aesthetic and to appeal to the same market as SCP for a successful product.

materials research In the SCP Boxed Collection brief, SCP state that the company ‘tend to work in traditional materials like wood, ceramics, metal, marble, textiles, etc.’ They also claim they are ‘welcome to new materials if methods of manufacture are possible’. As a company conscious about their manufacturing costs and waste, they produce products in batches of approximately 10 up to 50, so high set up costs are not a problem that they face – this rules out any process that is only cost effective for mass production such as injection moulding plastic. The products sold at SCP are high quality, current pieces of design, so involving mass produced components would undermine the designs both financially and with regards to the brands design aim.


materials: hardwood

Having looked at the products for sale at SCP, it is clear that the use of hardwood resonates throughout the collections, especially woods such as Walnut and Oak. Both materials are used in the Agnes collection by Kay and Stemmer.

13 Walnut, or more speciďŹ cally Black Walnut, is a dark, durable hardwood, which is usually easy to work, as long as the grain is straight. The rich brown colour has made Black Walnut a very popular wood amongst woodworkers, and is used not only in furniture making, but also the production of gun stocks, indoor panelling and veneers. It is considered a premium hardwood, allowing extremely attractive products to be created from it. The only negative impact of the use of Walnut is that SCP struggle to source FSC approved timbers. This means that the Walnut has not come from a forest approved by the Forestry Stewardship Council, which SCP are not keen on doing In a similar way to Black Walnut, Oak is a very workable, attractive wood. The grain is straight, although may have irregularities based on the growing conditions of the tree. Much lighter in colour that the Black Walnut, Oak is also used in ooring and boatbuilding.

SCP Project Research Booklet  
SCP Project Research Booklet