Ex­press your in­di­vid­u­al­ity with cus­tomised de­signs

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Ever fan­cied your­self as a prod­uct de­signer? Thanks to a new crop of mo­du­lar items for the home, you can now have much more of a cre­ative hand in how your in­te­ri­ors look. It’s like Lego for grown-ups: take a hand­ful of sim­ple el­e­ments and build them in a unique way to ex­press your style.

“Peo­ple are be­com­ing more in­ter­ested in mod­u­lar­ity. There’s a dif­fer­ent men­tal­ity, espe­cially among younger con­sumers: they want to be a part of the cre­ative process and have some­thing more in­di­vid­ual in their home,” says Pet­ros Be­limpasakis, di­rec­tor and head of sound at Bang & Olufsen. Known for its cut­ting-edge ap­proach to de­sign for home technology prod­ucts, the com­pany has re­cently launched BeoSound Shape, a speaker sys­tem made up of an as­sort­ment of tes­sel­lated fabric-cov­ered hexagons that sprawl across a wall. The hexagons – which con­ceal ei­ther a speaker, an am­pli­fier or acous­tic damp­en­ing ma­te­rial – clip to­gether to cre­ate any shape. There are 10 fab­rics avail­able and a choice of acous­tic quality too, giv­ing even more free­dom to cus­tomise.

Be­limpasakis links our de­sire to shape our prod­ucts to the wider trend for grow­ing our own food or bak­ing our own bread – we want to gain an un­der­stand­ing of some­thing from the inside out. “Older gen­er­a­tions are happy to go to a spe­cial­ist and let them de­sign some­thing on their be­half. Mil­len­ni­als are more in­ter­ested in not just go­ing to the ex­perts, but be­com­ing the ex­perts.”

From a sales per­spec­tive, it’s bril­liant: with a sin­gle prod­uct, Bang & Olufsen can tar­get the ca­sual home lis­tener who needs a small set-up and the swanky ho­tel that wants a huge state­ment wall of speak­ers. Buildy­our-own prod­ucts make im­pres­sive mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als, too: Mo­visi, the mo­du­lar fur­ni­ture de­signer, claims that its Grow! U-shaped units can make 10,000 pos­si­ble items of fur­ni­ture, and when Scan­di­na­vian brand Hem launched its Al­pha­beta light­ing, a sys­tem of stack­able metal shades in var­i­ous shapes and colours, it boasted that there were a pos­si­ble 10 bil­lion com­bi­na­tions.

There seem to be two fac­tors to a good mo­du­lar de­sign: sim­plic­ity, so that there’s no has­sle in putting the com­po­nents to­gether or mov­ing them round, and fun – it should be en­joy­able to de­sign and build. In the light­ing in­dus­try, the Ar­range­ments sys­tem by Ital­ian brand Flos, which is launch­ing next year, al­lows geo­met­ric el­e­ments (hoops, squares, bars and more) to link to­gether: where the el­e­ments touch, spring con­tacts al­low the elec­tri­cal cur­rent to run through­out the chain.

“For me, the beauty of mo­du­lar fur­ni­ture is the el­e­ment of play,” says Samuel Chan, whose com­pany, Chan­nels, makes an an­gled tim­ber book­case sys­tem called Mr Knock that can be­come any­thing from a sin­gle unit to wall-span­ning mega-stor­age. The shelves slot to­gether with­out re­quir­ing any screws, mak­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of as­sem­bling

Skandium’s String Shelv­ing Sys­tem, main, starts from £79; prices start at £48 for Mo­visi’s Grow! flex­i­ble fur­ni­ture, be­low; Ar­range­ments

light­ing launches in 2018 from Flos, left

De­lak­tig, above, will be in Ikea stores early next year; Mr Knock units, be­low, start at £195 (chan­nels de­sign.com)

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