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
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
Endless combinations. A mass produced furniture system that allows for individualization, personalization and engagement!
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.
Dynamic components such as lamps, support surfaces, or pockets work to enhance, add, or modify functionalities to the main body.
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
Unio - Components
Unio - Unions
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
- 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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.