Unio

Overview

Unio is a modular interactive furniture system, that aims to engage the user with the furniture, through personalization, individualization, and interactivity. Users can change their Unio set, a fusion of static and dynamic variables, to adapt to their new landscapes, creating unique compositions. By encouraging personalization and introducing control, users have increased engagement, sense of place, and mental wellbeing. Unio combines simplicity, beauty, interactivity, and invention, to make a relevant playful furniture system.

Duration: 4 months

Individual 

Royal College of Art - 2020

Tutors: Thomas Wager, Alon Meron

1st Prize KI AWARD 2020

“Unio is a cool balance between something that can be mass produced and integrated with ‘generic’ objects, giving the user an easy and adaptable method of customisation. The idea of introducing play into otherwise more rigid, structured spaces is also a great aspect”

- Rishi Mera Marketing Manager at KI Europe

UNIO

Endless combinations. A mass produced furniture system that allows for individualization, personalization and engagement! 

Main Bodies

Largely static pieces of furniture that are rarely moved. These include a bedframe, a desk, a side table, a cloak rack, a chair, and a shelf unit. 

Components

Dynamic components such as lamps, support surfaces, or pockets work to enhance, add, or modify functionalities to the main body. 

Unions

Enable the user to easily clip on and move components. 5 unions accomplishing the function of  a hanger, gripper, holder and hook. 

Unio - Main Bodies

todos.jpg

Desk

Chair

Bedphrame

Coatrack

Shelf

Side table

Unio - Components

components .jpg

Pocket

Chair

Lamp

Shelf

Side table

Unio - Unions

uniones%203_edited.jpg

Holder

Hanger

Holder

Gripper

Hook

Whats NEXT for Unio

Currently new main bodies are being built and designed, and unions are being prototyped further. 

We are looking for a sponsor who can push the project to a new level and potentially launch it! 

Follow the progress in my Instagram page: @maria.rmvz

Process

 
  - Miguel Sicarti in Play Matters

Background & aim

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. 

Unio aims to reintroduce play into our adult lives through increased interaction between user and furniture.

“Play is brought by people to the interrelation with and between things that form daily life”

Why

Experts claim our need to play is lifelong, benefitting not only children, but adults, as we can find joy through the creative interactions with the objects around, impacting on our health. 

By encouraging personalization and introducing control, users have increased engagement, sense of place, and mental wellbeing. 

Sketches 2.jpg

Research 

Research was done in revolving the theme of play and hot it is approached in design and around the psychology of interaction and engagement, supported by articles and books. 

Besides, there is always a field research that is done that helps inform what the market has or lacks. Images show some of the research around play and some brainstorming and maquettes. 

1.1.jpg

Prototyping 

In every project, I draw, sketch and prototype at the very beginning. This is another way I've found of researching and generating new ideas. The sooner I start to make, the better; fail fast, fail quick. 

I always look for a balance in thinking and making. This duality is what makes the perfect combination. These are some of the experiments and prototypes done during the process. 

You can see prototypes of the unions to the left, which were made with my home bender (bellow, two of the versions, the first and last), trials for the best way to weld to the right, and prototypes in cardboard, PVC pipes and metal pipes bellow. 

s_edited.jpg

Making

I love being part of the making; touching and feeling the materials. 

This really helps me understand better what I'm designing and informs every design decision I make. 

On sustainability 

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.

Materials

The materials used; steel and pine wood, are highly recyclable, highly resourceful, and highly versatile.

 

This allows to reduce impact in production, impact in the transportation of raw material and allows for a circular economy system.  

Flatpack

Transportation and shipping is the most damaging part of our ecosystem. By making our products flatpack, we not only reduce costs, make it easier, and are more sustainable, as less volume is being transported, but we also get the user to engage with the piece of furniture. 

Nowadays, people aren’t aware of how things are made or constructed, like we used to. This adds another layer to the interaction, by having a very simple and intuitive assembly. This also allows for easier repair and change. 

User engagement

By having the user interact with Unio, in the building and day by day, we are building a relationship.

 

It's important that we interact with what is around us, it is proven that this not only impacts our wellbeing but it also extends the life of the object. 

Personalization

In a world where less things look different, where mass manufacture is dominating, it is important to allow for individuality.

 

Unio allows for customization, everyone can make their own set-up and adapt it to their needs. This extends the life and use of the furniture for a longer period of time.

Process video

https://youtu.be/3rvSALcUFa0

Assembly video

https://youtu.be/oGAR07t74nM