This project aims at aiding transients and their lifestyle through furniture designed specifically for their needs, both functionally and economically. Designing to suit new and efficient trends of manufacturing, increasing longevity and business model.
Background study- Millennials compose India’s biggest part of the population and a major chunk of them are transients who flock into urban conglomerates and move to others where better employment opportunities arise. Moving cities pose a challenge of setting up a new accommodation with basic furniture and amenities. Miles away from home, the accommodation is their escape from tough corporate or student life. Investment on furniture is often a factor of rent of place, earnings, time of stay and commitment which may defer one from investing and continue with compromises made with comfort and quality of living.
Data collection- Studying millennial and their habits, accommodation details and patterns to understand the way of residing. Consumption pattern through savings and earnings through salary indexes and marketing consultancy reports to gain economic understanding and framing the target user and price segment. Understanding current trends both in and around furniture to try and predict trends down five years.
Design process- Gaining useful information from background study and secondary data to create a foundation and build primary research upon. The secondary insights open various dimensions to think upon and concrete using primary research methods and find unseen information on-site. Before visiting the transients and their accommodations a detail requirement list was made through the subjects covered in secondary research to create a basic wire-frame of what to look at and ask during interviews.
Methodology- POEMS (People Objects Environment Meanings and Services) methodology was followed to cover user and his surrounding system to record inputs and later derive useful insights from the observations and quotations of the users. These have information pertaining to surrounding objects, the user and their pain points and meanings of their activities and furniture supporting those activities.
Analysis and synthesis- Deriving design insights through qualitative research is a difficult task as all users are different and generalizations are misleading. Identifying key areas and finding patterns to generate insights which will help guide the design ideation. This was done through task analysis, affinity mapping, attribute mapping, empathy mapping and similar techniques to build concrete insights to build upon.
Design development- A basic requirement of Single Bed and Wardrobe was identified from research and analysis led to a multiple-pronged ideation process. The functionality of wardrobe and bed was further enhanced by add-ons/attachments which support the individual lifestyle of transient users. These add-ons are easy to install and quick to adjust to aid personal installation and continual ordering and reduce dependency on technicians. The basic structure of the business model suggested refurbishment and hence was purposefully designed to be taken apart and replaced easily.
Design Validation- Both online and offline methods were used to validate the design of members. Individual members were prototyped using manual quick fabrication and tested for their strength, whereas computerized stress analysis and F.E.A. tools were used to validate performance under simulated loads and strengthening the design.
Consolidation- Manufacturing using advanced 3D laser cut possessed various manufacturing and design challenges where the parts had to be redesigned for manufacturability. Cost optimization was achieved through clever alterations and placement of individual parts to ensure minimum waste of time and material.
Ethical issues- Refurbished items including replaced panel boards and repainted metal parts even though will look new, a new category of refurbished items was created in the in the business model to reinstate transparency and trust the customer has on Godrej.
Conclusion/learnings - The graduation project gave time and opportunity to explore and develop understandings of a variety of research methodologies and analysis techniques in detail at a full-scale project. The willingness of sponsor to wait until the completion of each phase of the design process before rushing to the development also helped in creating reliable insights and to reach to the solution in a correct manner. The design and manufacturing tested and improved the skills I had in design and engineering and gave a positive boost to the project. Time-lines and responsibilities during the project tenure provided a glimpse of the way forward and equipped me further with these experiences.