MOS – Modular Object System
The Australian manufacturing sector is in a state of transition: increasing levels of automation and the offshoring of volumetric and low value production have resulted in a steady decline in the number manufacturing jobs, and the trend appears likely to continue. For the local furniture production industry these changes have the potential to threaten the viability of local production of low to medium cost products. However, a small but strong industry focussed on designing and manufacturing particular products for niche markets is steadily increasing its local impact. This success may be due in part to a perceived value in the quality of locally made furniture. With a narrative of quality, craft and tradition, this perception of value overlays notions of artisanal production onto furniture which is significantly digital in its methods of design and fabrication. This project explores these notions of value through the design of a range of low-cost furniture products.
In an attempt to encourage commercial viability within a rapidly changing economic and technological climate, the project aims to capitalise on this perceived value in locally made furniture via the design of a simple system of furniture components that allow for the creation of a large array of furniture by using shared infrastructure and tooling. Through an iterative process of extensive prototyping and material testing, the Modular Object System (M.O.S) of components generates an array of products that require a very low level of production investment to produce high value products. Using a unique system of assembly the project proposes new methods for low volume design and manufacturing enterprises to leverage the combination of careful design and just in time production processes as a strategic approach to building business resilience.