A designer has taken the challenge out of assembling flatpack furniture with a collection that can be put together with magnets in minutes.
Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Benjamin Vermeulen’s furniture collection, entitled MAG (Magnetic Assisted Geometry), requires no tools for assembly. The user can simply snap the components together, as they are embedded with powerful magnets.
The modular MAG collection, which was launched during Dutch Design Week in 2013, features a chair, desk and cabinet. The collection is constructed from high quality materials - steel sheets and wooden frames that create a clean, minimalist aesthetic.
The cabinet is fully configurable by ordering extra components with options available for glass doors or no doors or an extra layer of storage. The ease of the pieces' magnetic assembly makes it easy to play around with design options and replace parts easily if required.
The furniture solution represents Vermeulen’s goal as a designer. He is not focused on mass production, opting instead “to make simple designs that people instantly understand how to use.”
In detailing his design, Vermeulen noted that shipping flatpack furniture is both economical and sustainable but recognised that such furniture has earned a reputation for being made of low-grade materials and being difficult to assemble.
He ensured his MAG collection was extremely simple to put together.
“It can be assembled and disassembled without losing its initial structural integrity,” he said. “This means you can take it apart if you are moving or selling it on. And replacing parts is easy since they come right off and reattach with the same ease.”
While Vermeulen has given IKEA and similar outlets something to think about, many other designers explored the power of magnetism in 2013.
Rock Paper Boat, a furniture and lighting boutique, used physics to create the Magnetic Floating Table.
Visually striking, the table features wooden cubes that appear to be suspended thanks to a system of tensile steel cables which hold them together. Left alone, the cubes float and collapse slightly when gently touched.
Zhang & Thonsgaard also revealed a 2013 Playtime Collection which featured origami-inspired furniture pieces which are folded into shape.
"With two specific folding techniques, the flat pieces are transformed into a chair or a table, held together with clips and small magnets," explained the designers.
A couple of years ago, the BARkwadraat table designed by Eveline Pieters’ from Green Tuna Design and Joreoen Verschuren, also challenged the need for an Allen key when assembling furniture.
Constructed from scrap pieces, the wooden table features legs that are attached to the table top with embedded magnets.
While some may breeze through the instructions when constructing flatpack furniture, the latest magnetic innovations target consumers looking for the simplest assembly solutions.
With the ease, environmental and economical benefits associated with flatpack furniture, why shouldn't its construction be just as easy?