Decomposing the “Funcy” project :
Critique essay by Shinwoo her, Anthony Cesari and Oz Etzioni
“Funcy” is a thesis project by Ilanit Ovadya, parsons’ product design graduate of 2007. The problem this project deals with is furniture packaging waste in urban environments. The designer wanted to find a solution to this specific waste problem by designing a flat-packed work-station and eliminating its packaging aspect by its form and usage. The elements been used for packaging become the product’s accessories after assembly, leaving no waste behinds. The target users are young people with limited living spaces.
Non profit organization involved: • Cenyc – Council on the environment of New York City • O2nyc- environmental sustainability through design • Rainforest Relief – protection over world’s tropical rain forests
Identifying projects’ strengths and weaknesses:
Strengths- • Easy mounting / dismounting process • A variety of optional accessories hanging/tying/adding methods. • No use of extra material (without screws, bolts, etc.)
Weaknesses- • Furniture packaging (usually 2-layer corrugated cardboard) is recyclable, is it really a big waste problem in urban environments? • The product acts as its own packaging – no damage protection over the product different parts (during transportation, moving, etc.) • Product form is dictated (no options to fit personal/space needs) • The product is a “temporary use” product, after its short life time it becomes waste by itself. • The flat-packed concept conflicts any ergonomic and modern design to address the young, urban users that spend hours using it. • Limited versions – no other optional furniture to add to the workstation (with the same design language or function) like a chair, stool, sofa, etc. • The product addresses only a part of the mentioned problem (aims at young city dwellers) which represents only a certain percentage of the urban waste producers. • No drawers / open spaces for accessories accommodation.
Our group’s new proposal:
Introduction: A modular product that is oriented to perform as a changeable workstation, but can be diverted into other functional objects, according to given space and user’s needs and limitations. The product’s packaging waste will be minimal and most of it will be used as optional accessories to the product itself.
Guidelines: • User and space diversity • Environmental concern- o Disposal of minimum packaging waste o LCA – what is the end of the product’s life cycle? Can we change it? o Upcycling – is there more to each part of the product than its original function? • Modularity – changing forms, changing functions • Limited materials – use the same material (make the right choice- recyclable, cheap, easy to process, light-weight: for transportation, etc.)
Design aspects: • Modular wooden parts – o Basic package – 4 X wooden boards of 30”x30”x1.5” 6 X wooden boards of 30”x15”x1.5” o Optional extra package – 4 X boards of 30”x15”1.5” (for more space creation, drawers, shelves) • The product is packed in 7 levels (every 2 small boards = 1 big board in dimensions) – board over board. The sides of the cube-like shape are protected by a 90 degrees angles folded - 2 layered corrugated paper (to protect the corners of the wooden boards). Around the cube, 2 plastic straps are attaching the packaging corrugated paper to the wooden boards, preventing any parts movement.