Open source furniture

“One to several” table by AtFAB.

“One to several” table by AtFAB.

A new type of furniture is emerging thanks to the popularity of wood cutting machines with Computer Numerical Control (CNC), those that are fully controlled by a computer that translates digital information to precise movements of a router.

Furniture designers are taking advantage of this technological advance in order to get closer to their customers by providing creations that can be transferred directly, without intermediaries, from their desk to our computer and from there to the workshop.

As any other intellectual property in digital form, it is susceptible to be copied again and again, and some creators, trying to get ahead of the unsolvable dispute that other industries maintain, are offering their creations on “free code”.

Some of them are: Joni Steiner and Nick Ierodiacondou, Londoner OpenDesk founders; French Samuel Javelle (self-styled open designer) and his “Pod” stool; Norwegian Jens Dyvik and his “Layer” chair; Americans Anne Filson and Gary Rohrbacher and their AtFAb furniture line; the Israeli, Berlin-baesd, Ronen Kadushin and the “Italic Shelf”; Greg Saul and Tiago Rorke, components of the also Londoner Diatom Studio and creators of free software SketchChair, which lets you design your own chair.

SketchChair Kickstarter Campaign from diatom studio on Vimeo.

OpenDesk is the platform that brings together designers, workshops and users; a place where you can download the file at no cost with digital information supplied for parts and assembly of your desktop and helps find the shop where the work will be carried out, if you prefer not to go on your own.

These digital cutting machines are already being used naturally by youth at training centers and seem destined to produce a disruptive change in the way we think about furniture: access to a greater variety of proposals and personal involvement in the choice of material and manufacturing.

For our future furniture needs we have an alternative to Ikea products, we can choose an elegant and modern design, for instance from a London designer, whose pieces will come out of a beech board from Asturias with collaboration of Paco the cabinetmaker, all completed without leaving the neighborhood.

As with Ikea, assembly is our task.

According OpenDesk “Designed to be made locally – all over the world”.

Or why not: global design for local manufacturing. Sounds good.

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