Looking to buy furniture but too tired to visit the showrooms? The answer is at hand – you can now download furniture from the internet.
Well, kind of. Opendesk is an open-source online marketplace that allows users to download the technical plans for around 30 different furniture pieces.
Users can then send the downloaded file to a dedicated piece of milling equipment called a CNC machine. Load up a sheet of specified timber and the machine cuts out all the necessary parts, ready for piecing together.
Of course, not everyone has a CNC machine lying around at home, but more and more of them are becoming available to the public in the same way that you can pop into your local print shop and use a 3D printer.
The Opendesk platform is seen as a great way for designers to connect directly with consumers, who have access to the latest designs without having to wait for the big name furniture stores to stock them. Designers can choose to list their designs for free, or as a fee for downloading.
Another great thing about this process is that a designer in one part of the world can have their furniture plans downloaded in another country and manufactured there without the need for shipping and distribution – which is great for the environment and can help keep the cost of the furniture low. This kind of ‘ethical supply chain’ is a big plus for many designers and buyers.
Opendesk also has an augmented reality app that allows users to visualise the furniture in their own space before downloading, so there’s no need for even a showroom any more. Which is fine because, as we said at the start, you’re probably too tired to visit one…