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An Ex-Apple Engineer Takes On The Furniture Industry With Couches You Can FedEx

Campaign, a Bay Area startup, yanks buying furniture into the 21st century.

Brad Sewell—formerly a design and manufacturing engineer at Apple—thinks we’re buying furniture all wrong. The problems, as Sewell told Co.Design, lie in high shipping costs, lengthy shipping time, and crappy materials that won’t hold up over the years. His company Campaign, which launched this week, seeks to upend the way we think about our furniture.

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The company’s name derives from a style of furniture from the 1800s that could break down and assemble quickly. Today, that just makes sense considering how often everyone moves. No one wants to be saddled with a sofa or armchair that can’t negotiate a tight stairwell. Campaign’s arm chair is made up of about a dozen components that are assemble in less than two minutes with no tools—not even a screwdriver. The powder-coated, laser-cut steel frame slides together and screwing in the wood legs joins the arms, back, and frame. Pop the webbing tray in, place the cushions on top, and you’ve got yourself a place to sit. Here’s a time lapse showing it in action:

Sewell demoed the arm chair at Fast Company‘s offices and I can personally attest that it does assemble quickly and is comfortable. The seat cushion is made from foam for support and the back pillow is stuffed with down for comfort. The arms are finished with a technique inspired by the automotive industry; just like the ceiling of a car interior is rigid, but has a little give thanks to a thin foam layer between the frame and upholstery, so do the arms. Plus, the slipcovers are changeable. The piece is manufactured in Campaign’s Emeryville, California, factory.

While flat-pack furniture certainly isn’t new, Campaign has an edge since all of the boxes can be shipped standard FedEx or UPS and fit into a typical car trunk. Imagine moving without a U-Haul or pricey professionals. The armchair is $495, the loveseat is $745, and three-seat sofa is $995—just over Ikea’s rates and just under CB2 and West Elm. Shipping is included in Campaign’s sticker price, whereas that’s usually at least $100 more for other brands.

What Campaign is banking on is the growing ease and comfort people have with buying furniture online. However, a coffee table is one thing but a couch is entirely another. It’s something you sit on for hours at a time, defines the overall look of a room, and takes up a good amount of space. Sofas are typically a “try before you buy” type of purchase. Still, we’re collectively becoming more comfortable with getting big-ticket items online and Campaign offers compelling reasons to make furniture yet another fire-and-forget purchase.

Pre-order at campaignliving.com; shipping is expected to start in November 2015.

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About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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