Massuni, a customizable furniture order and manufacturing start-up, says it plans to launch a version of its system in China in January. The latest version of the "furniture configurator" for North America will also be launched, says Jeff Wilson, founder and CEO. Wilson will present an update on Massuni's technology and business plans at WMS 2015 in Toronto.
“We are working hard and getting close to a launch with our manufacturing partners in Ontario and in China," says Wilson, whose venture is supported by Verso Furniture, based in Shelburne, ON - about 60 miles from Toronto.
For the newest iteration of the North American version and for the system that will launch for the Chinese consumer, "We have the front end of the system working pretty smoothly; the final piece is to generate all the production data for the manufacturing partners."
Massuni's new technology and related interface - an intuitive configurator - lets buyers design custom furniture that can be sized in one millimeter increments in height width and depth.
"Massuni was developed to address the frustration so many people experience while trying to find a piece of furniture that has the right mix of style, functionality and price," says Wilson. "We believe in the power of customization and have developed a quick and simple way for anyone to design furniture that fits seamlessly into their home."
To begin the design process, users browse the Massuni catalog, select an item such as a dresser, bookcase, or cupboard, then adjust height, width, and depth to suit there space. Wilson expects the catalog will grow to include thousands of furniture pieces, including items designed by other users.
For China, "the opportunity is big or bigger than in North America," says Wilson. “What I am trying to do is move to a more efficient business model for furniture manufacturing. The market is still in a mass-production model, and that doesn't’t work well for an industry that is has so much variety."
The answer is mass customization, Wilson says, which allows consumers to order individualized furniture. Data is then fed to manufacturing systems for output of Batch One production of wood products.
Accompanying the move to Batch One production - each chair, cabinet or table custom built in an automated setting - are initiatives to launch scaled down configurators that allows furniture and cabinetry to be infinitely scaled in height, width, and depth. The enabling application is parametric modeling, allowing a catalog of furniture designs to be greatly scalable. A table, for example, can be made an inch taller than normal (for someone with long legs) or a bureau can be made a couple inches shallower to allow clearance for a door, or the width adjusted to fill a wall space.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.