Creative Assignment #2

Design modular furniture.

When we were young, we all loved lego and mecanno, and used to build endless toys and fantasy contructions from it.

Wouldn't it be great to have modular furniture, you buy a small variety of standard components and you assemble them together to build pretty much any item of furniture you could want. As with my proposal for stencils, the art in the design would be to come up with the minimum number of pieces, that can offer sufficient functionality.

I did tinker with this idea a while ago myself, and the Shigura Ban 10 unit system does something along the same lines, if you prefer a podcast to a web page, it is about 1.50 in to the attached Monocle podcast, but it is worth watching the whole thing.

It really is not a desperately new idea, so the interesting question is probably why it has never really been implemented. It is probably because it is design athema. Once you get your lego bricks, there is no further design input. While this might be bad for designers, it is great for empowering users. With the growing culture of IKEA hacks, it might be a good fit for IKEA, who to my mind are actually a really innovative and progressive company when it comes to design. Although somewhere like HABITAT is renowned for its design, I would actually rate IKEA as the more innovative.

http://www.monocle.com/sections/design/Web-Articles/Milan-2009/
http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/8/view/6065/shigeru-ban-10-unit-system-for-artek.html

UPDATE
nice little video podcast on Shigeru Ban - does not say anything about modular furniture, but might be of interest, from the ever excellent Gestalten
http://www.gestalten.com/news/detail?id=2754