Double duty furniture

“Vertical living is more than suburbia turned on its side”, so says Mond Qu, a Melbourne-based designer and creator of the DEBLE – a DEsk taBLE combo. 

Architecturally trained in Melbourne and London, Mond was the 2016 recipient of the Credit Suisse Scholarship at The Wade Institute where he studied for a masters of entrepreneurship.

Described as “the MBA for the entrepreneurial age”, The Wade Institute aims to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. This is the dream of Ormond alumnus, Peter Wade who believes that, while we are a smart nation, “still too few of our great ideas are generating the future of our economy”.

It is this future focus that appealed to Mond, as his interests lie with the merging worlds of the virtual and physical, which he sees as slowly becoming one. Acting upon the belief that designers need to grab hold of these opportunities and bridge the gap between changes in culture and technology, Mond is currently involved with two ventures – United Make and Prymari (pronounced primary).

United Make is an experimental think-tank and multi-disciplinary studio where Mond works alongside a graphic designer, a virtual reality technician and a fabrication technician and, together, they “explore design through the act of making”.  United Make has been operating for three years and boasts clients such as Zumbo, Law Advisor and YouTube.

But Mond also wanted a more practical outlet and, hailing from a family of interior designers, he believed that his biggest impact would be through designing sustainable furniture which responded to people’s real life needs. This was the reason behind the launch of his second venture, Prymari, a custom design furniture company that combines innovative design, craftsmanship and technology.

And Prymari’s first offering is the DEBLE – a customisable, modularised table-and-desk in one. Consisting of a chequerboard-like surface, each square is a separate module which can be swapped out for either a flat surface or a specialised unit. Currently there are modules for such things as computer equipment, lighting and storage (such as for craft materials).

In terms of sustainability, the DEBLE is manufactured locally in Blackburn and the frame is made of sustainably-sourced mountain ash timber. The individual modules vary in terms of their composition and a range of other materials can be used in the DEBLE such as medium density fibreboard, bluestone, marble, Perspex and even material comprised of recycled coffee granules.

Regarding vertical living, the idea behind the DEBLE is that when living in a small space, it’s helpful to make every piece of furniture pull double duty.

DEBLE achieves this through its switchability, which offers several benefits to vertical dwellers, the first being adaptability. If there is more than one person needing working space, as long as they don’t need it at the same time, the DEBLE can be configured to suit the particular needs of each user.

This means that several different people can tailor the one area to suit their different needs by swapping in the modules they need for their particular tasks (e.g. craft making, studying, drawing). Also, as our interests change over time, new modules can be obtained and older ones retired or, even better, recycled. This goes to the second benefit which is that Mond envisions offering a repair and/or recycle service which is also part of his drive for sustainability. So, if a module needs updating or repairing, simply take it back to Prymari.

In terms of availability, currently there are 10 prototypes with 30 beta testers putting DEBLE through its final paces. Already Mond is taking on suggestions, such as for a side unit for module storage and he is also examining the idea of a quick release leg system which would aid in shipping and delivery (especially when elevators are involved).

A crowd-funding campaign is planned for mid-2017, so if you are interested in getting your own DEBLE, stay tuned for its launch on Kickstarter.

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