The Future of Furniture, According to an Expert


It's an awkward question to answer, as any expert is liable to be biased. But it is a question that's often asked: what does the future of furniture look like? We reached out to interior designer and furniture maker Kevin Weiss, who has given it some serious thought.

“We live in a time of major advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence,” he says. “I believe we will see these technologies applied more and more to traditional manufacturing processes for furniture.”

For Weiss, the future of furniture is smarter, faster, more efficient and more accessible. In a world where craftsmen are few and far between, he predicts that the “maker movement” will continue to grow. He adds that 3D printing will also play an important role in building a more sustainable future for furniture and interior design.

“We must think outside of the box and design furniture that is less dependent on the parts that we rely on so heavily,” he says. “The use of 3D printers and classic woodworking techniques will help us push the boundaries of what is possible with modernized manufacturing techniques. Today's manufacture consists largely of mass-produced parts; however, as we look to make practical items based on often-handcrafted designs, we will need to creatively produce these goods using economies of scale.”

As for Weiss's predictions for the future? He gives us a bit of a list:

1. The end of mass production:

 Manufacture will continue to become more automated and less labor intensive. However, this has the potential to have a negative impact on skilled craftspeople.

2. Integrate technology into all aspects of design:

The use of technology will be integrated into furniture, lighting, flooring and accessories to create more accessible objects.

3. 3D printing will play a bigger role in production: 

3D printers will have an impact on the industry by allowing for more sustainable practices in materials and production techniques.

4. Ten years from now, robots will be doing the bulk of the thinking at the workplace for humans:

 Robots will take over manual labor at workplaces, with humans making decisions based on their superior analytical capabilities.

5. Designers will become technologists: 

Traditional furniture designers will be forced to take up the mantle as 3D printing and robotics begin to dominate production.

6. Furniture design will become more flexible:

 Furniture objects will become more flexible and adaptable to fit a variety of spaces, lifestyles and functions.

7. Wood will still be the material of choice:

 Wood and its ability to create beautiful and environmentally friendly pieces will continue to be one of our most important resources for interior design.

8. It will be easier to reduce energy consumption: 

Many of the feats of energy conservation that first became popular around 25 years ago will become more commonplace. Energy-efficient lighting, heating and appliances will continue to become more cost-effective for households looking to cut back on expenses.

9. The world will be more interconnected: 

We will continue to see the emergence of digital technology and its integration into all aspects of life, giving rise to a more seamless experience for design and furniture. In fact, many people will take advantage of the availability of information and have a better understanding of how products are manufactured, giving them greater control over their home spaces.

10. Furniture manufacturing will become a creative outlet:

 The creative industry as a whole is going through an exciting transformation that has been spurred by new technology and empowered by a renewed interest in American manufacturing.

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