Gareth Atkin, founder of Hull-based furniture agency, Preston Furniture Solutions
Working from home – from the kitchen table, the sofa or spare bedroom – could offer the chance of a new niche for furniture and joinery manufacturers.
According to a report by academics at Cardiff and Southampton universities, 90% of workers who have worked from home during lockdown would like to continue to do so in some form. In the Understanding Society Covid-19 Study, more than 40% felt they had been more productive at home. From an employer’s perspective, having more productive staff away from the office could see considerable cost savings. And, for furniture manufacturers, that could herald the opening of a new market.
Atim’s drop-leaf desk range sees a cupboard door used as a foldaway desk
For any manufacturer already juggling supply chain, production and staffing issues, developing a new product range may seem like a tall order, but Gareth Atkin, founder of Hull-based furniture agency, Preston Furniture Solutions, believes that now is the ideal time to keep up with social change and anticipate future demand.
The Oplà Folding +39 pull-out top is designed to align with the counter top
For those furniture manufacturers and designers keen to try a new market, Preston Furniture Solutions’ portfolio of innovative components could well provide the inspiration they have been looking for.
“For the furniture industry, demand for multifunctional living spaces and flexible kitchen, dining and living room furniture has never been in such high demand,” he explains.
Atim’s Homework fold-out table requires no floor support, making it the ideal hide-away desk
What started off as a design trend has been catapulted to the top of the agenda by a global pandemic that could never have been predicted. However, it’s certain that the rise in numbers of people working from home will increase the demand for manufacturers to produce furniture that can adapt to our changing needs.
“This opens the door to furniture manufacturers to increase sales by introducing ranges that reflect our new normal,” says Gareth. “Our homes will have to work harder for us, and furniture will need to be fully adaptable in order to work around our new way of living.
The Atim Evolution +39 and Evolution +39 XL extractable tables have a pull-out extension of 1025 and 690mm, and have been developed to allow for the use of the entire composition of the cabinet
“We need cabinets that turn into conference tables, drawers that reveal hot desks, doors that slide to divide and unite living spaces. And, even when square footage may be at a premium, the creative use of space can make the most of every inch available, and it’s here that growth potential exists. What designers need right now are the mechanisms for change. And that is simply, the best hardware solutions from the best manufacturers.”
Gareth adds: “Problems plus designers, equal solutions – solutions and collaboration equal innovation. It’s these simple formulas that create the breeding ground for design ingenuity. This isn’t designing for trends. Today’s furniture manufacturers are designing with real purpose, to revolutionise the experience of every customer by significantly improving the way in which we use our homes.
“For kitchen and furniture manufacturers, now is the time to engineer a new future and to seek out the expertise in components that will create designs that meet the needs of a new period in society. Let’s call these the mechanisms for change. We can’t be certain of the future, but the power to transform the way in which we live is the key component of a new future.”