Joshua Max Gibson-Lennon MA/MSc Product Design

Joshua Max Gibson-Lennon

Exploring how flat-pack furniture can be revalued

Due to decades of bad business and design practices by companies such as Ikea, flat-pack furniture has undeservedly acquired a reputation for being cheap, low-quality, throwaway and unsustainable. However, I think these generalised perceptions of flat-pack design are wrong, in fact flat-pack furniture has many positive characteristics.

A key benefit of flat-pack furniture is its efficient use of space. This allows flat-pack furniture to be more environmentally friendly than fully constructed products due to the reduced quantity of fuel and space that is needed for transportation and storage. This benefit is felt by manufacturers and consumers alike, and it was my ambition to develop more environmentally friendly practices and sustainability which was paramount during this project.

My design is inspired by spindle back and traditional Windsor chairs in particular, which have a classic and long lived design aesthetic. I have revisited and modernised the Windsor style and construction, integrated it with the characteristics of Japanese and Scandinavian design, and developed these archetypes within the principles of flat-pack design for high-volume manufacture. I achieve further sustainability & longevity with my design by only using high quality natural materials, craftsmanship and manufacturing processes to develop a high end aesthetic which encourages the customer to treasure and care for their flat-pack furniture instead of simply replacing them when they are damaged or are out of trend. The final design combines tradition and modernity to embrace and celebrate craftsmanship and materials to encourage sustainability.