Useful information

Team members
Maria Ramon Vazquez
circular-economy furniture system interaction sustainability flat-pack playful mass production customizable personalization individuality steel wood recyclabl

Short Description

Unio is a furniture system that introduces play through the interaction between object and user.

Detailed Description

Unio is a modular furniture system that encourages interaction and allows for personalization, introducing play back into the life of its user. Compromised of three categories of units (main bodies, unions, and components), users are able to adapt and personalize their environments.
The ‘main bodies’ are largely static pieces of furniture, which are rarely moved. These include things such as a bed frame, a desk, a side table, a cloak rack, and a shelf unit. These main bodies are enhanced with dynamic ‘components’ such as lamps, support surfaces, or pockets. These two units are brought together with ‘unions’ which enable the user to easily clip on and move ‘components’, adding or modifying functionalities of the ‘main bodies’.
The materials; steel and pine wood, are highly recyclable and allow for more sustainable processes due to their versatility. These, along with flatpack, individualization, and engagement, aim for a sustainable, circular-economy system.

Project Details

Does your design take social and cultural challenges and human wellbeing into consideration?

We normally think of Play as ‘fun and games’. However, to its core, Play is the interrelation between people and objects from daily life; it is a way of expressing ourselves.
As children, we navigate our world freely, interacting with structures and giving inanimate objects life. Somewhere along the way, we lose this inhibition, forgetting how to simply play.
Experts claim our need to play is lifelong, benefitting not only children, but adults, as we can find joy through creative interactions with the objects around us, having a positive impact on our wellbeing.
Unio aims to reintroduce Play into our adult lives through increased interaction between user and furniture.

Does your design support sustainable production, embodying circular or regenerative design practices?

Unio pieces are primarily made of steel and pine wood. Steel is 100% recyclable and has a potentially infinite lifecycle. Its infinite recyclability, without loss of properties, combined with its strength, versatility, availability, and affordability make steel the perfect material for a sustainable and circular-economy system. On the other hand, pinewood is a fast-growing species hence, more sustainable.

Does your design use principles of distribution and open source?

Interactivity, sustainability, and modularity are the three pillars of Unio. The main bodies are all assembled by the user which allows these to be flat-packed.

Does your design promote awareness of responsible design and consumption?

As designers, sustainability must be our top priority. Over the years, consumers have become more educated on topics of sustainability and the impact of their choices. I believe it is our responsibility as designers to drive viable and stainable options to the market.
First and foremost, we must begin to use sustainable processes to manufacture work using ‘smart’ materials, as I have done through the production of Unio by utilizing steel and pine and my primary materials. Further, we can engage with our audience by involving them in the process and allowing for customization, individuality, and personalization. In this way, we not only better engage with our users, but we ignite a relationship between the user and the furniture, potentially extending the life of these products.
Unio adapts to the users' needs, making the pieces relevant throughout time.