Ikea's great and all, but it's expensive, and it's just flat-packed stuff at the end of the day. You also have to fit to Ikea's set dimensions, and configurations, but what if you could make things as big or as small as you liked? Customise your flat-packed furniture, get it made and shipped directly to you. That's the premise behind Fabsie, the CNC-powered 3D-cutting furniture site, where you'll be able to order almost anything you like.
The problem with today's furniture market, as James McBennett the co-founder of Fabsie put it, is that designers are trapped. They get commissioned for a design, give the rights over and that's it. They're beholden to the manufacturer from then on in.
The idea behind Fabsie is that it'll operate a bit like the App Store. The designers will be able to submit their 3D designs for furniture, and once vetted to make sure they actually work as advertised, can then sell furniture to the public. You or I will be able to go onto the Fabsie site, select the design we want, customise it (dimensions, layout, orientation, add you logo, or custom design, whatever), and get it sent to a CNC machine to be made and posted to you. It'll be quick, made locally, and simple to put together, normally without tools too, due to the precision of the manufacturing process.
Not only does it mean you get bespoke furniture that fits your needs and designs, it also means it's produced locally. It's better for the environment, it's better for the economy, and designers and manufacturers each get a fair cut.
"The Fabsie making process offers custom-made furniture with minimal impact on the environment and fair returns to designers. Mass production was the innovation of the twentieth century; mass personalisation is the innovation of the twenty-first century."
To get the ball rolling with the new service, Fabsie's launching its first product on Kickstarter, "This Stool Rocks", which as you might have guessed from the name, is a rocking stool. It's a simple, beautifully-designed proof of concept, that's really quite comfortable -- well, it didn't fracture under the weight of my behind at least -- and is available now through Kickstarter.
Three models are up for grabs, one that rocks one way, one that rocks backwards and forwards, and one that can rock in a 360-degree pattern, and all can be put together in under a minute. The first 100 on Kickstarter will set you back £25, then £35 for the next 100, then £45 a pop after that.
We've heard a lot about 3D printing, and there's no doubt it's awesome. But 3D cutting is a much more useful and viable technology that we can use to produce things we can actually afford to have at home right now. There's been many a time when I've needed things like shelves, chest of drawers and even chairs, but haven't been able to find the right ones to fit in the hole I've got for them. Fabsie promises to do just that, make something bespoke for you, and without breaking the bank. [Fabsie]