Convenient, eco-friendly and built to last… Is it time to rethink at-home assembly?
Flatpacks to boast about
FLAT-PACK FURNITURE is not known for its dazzling style, generally being a product of convenience, rather than elevated aesthetics. But a new breed of assemble-at-home options might just change that.
One comes from the Swedish brand Hem, which has teamed up with the Norwegian design duo Anderssen & Voll on a sofa called Kumo (Japanese for ‘cloud’), which it describes as ‘shipsmart’: the parts of the sofa can be packed into a single pallet for transport. Due to its structure, consisting of poles and cushions, it’s lightweight and easy to slot together once it arrives, and it can be made bigger or smaller if you move house. ‘Lots of sofas are easy to build,’ notes designer Espen Voll, ‘but they look square and blocky. With Kumo, shape is just as important; it’s rounded and voluminous.’
Sustainability is the focus behind a chair by Pearsonlloyd for Takt, a new Danish company. Takt uses the flatpack model as it reduces fuel consumption in shipping (as well as the cost to the customer), and claims that six of its flat-packed Cross chairs take up the same amount of space as a single side chair. Made from oak, they have an elegant Scandi aesthetic and a simple structure, and can be put together with minimal tools and screws.
On more nostalgic lines is a stackable stool, a collaboration between designer-maker Andy King and the Science Museum, commissioned for the opening of the latter’s new shop. Inspired by school science-lab stools, it is composed of beech-plywood pieces and can, King says, be assembled in under 15 minutes. He intends it as ‘a real solution to small-space living’, and a good-quality item that can easily be taken from place to place: ‘I really believe that flat-pack furniture should move away from its throwaway image, and be built to last.’