Over the past few years (partially thanks to the 3D printing revolution) we’ve been seeing an explosion of customization apps and augmented reality viewers that allow consumers to customize their retail experience. The apps consistently ride the fine line between allowing a consumer to customize their retail experience while also keeping them constrained to the laws of manufacturing – almost like a sort of bumper bowling for armchair industrial designers.
But while many of these apps have focused on custom 3D printed wares – including more than a handful from Autodesk – a new service wants to offer the same experience in the form of customized flatpack (AKA Ready-to-Assemble) furniture that might have some people at IKEA scratching their heads right now.
PARSONAL is a new furniture design platform that allows customers to customize nearly every aspect of a piece of furniture’s final design – which includes length, width, height, finish and more – all in realtime 3D on any device with a web browser. The new furniture line was born out of product designer Andy Chick’s belief that high-quality furniture should be fully-customizable to fit any space and match any room with ease.
“Connecting the consumer to the manufacturing floor.”
Chick is an alum of Jumpstart Foundry, a startup accelerator that helped him launch his first company Arrister out of a small garage in East Nashville, Tennessee in May of 2014. While Arrister offered a similar custom design service for furniture, the addition of the PARSONAL platform extends more customization power to the customer without being constrained to Arrister’s existing pre-built designs.
“We’ve spent the last year perfecting our online user experience, from selection to checkout,” said Chick.
“The high standard to which we build our furniture is also the standard to which we’ve crafted our entire customization process.”
Perhaps what’s most interesting about the service is that while many flatpack furniture designs (including a majority of those offered at IKEA) are made from MDF or particle board, PARSONAL builds the custom pieces using high-quality solid wood sourced locally from the Appalachian Timber Reserve.
Currently, Chick is aiming to raise $36,000 on Kickstarter and plans to use the funds to secure a production-ready factory location as well as finalize the development of the product configurator.