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Super-Minimal Furniture Designed To Make Moving Suck Less

This designer is making furniture that stays just as strong on your first move as your last.

Martin Gschwandtl, an industrial designer at Ammunition, has moved about 15 times in his life, which translates to at least 15 headaches when it came to transporting his furniture. He isn’t alone: The average American, for example, will move more than 11 times. At Salone del Mobile this week, Gschwandtl launched Out of Necessity, a new furniture line that’s engineered for the frequent mover.

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“Moving is always a hassle,” Gschwandtl says. “I’ve never owned many pieces furniture, but I have helped a good number of friends move over the years. No matter how careful you are, it seems nearly impossible to disassemble and assemble a cheap piece of furniture without breaking it. The other extreme is when the pieces you need to move cannot be collapsed at all. Anyone who has experienced living in a place with a narrow staircase knows what I am talking about.”

Gschwandtl’s experience with furniture is one that’s easy to sympathize with, especially if you’ve ever tried to disassemble an Ikea bookcase (it’s a pain in the ass, if not impossible) or tried to maneuver said unassembled bookcase down a third-floor walk-up (hope you have a good chiropractor to undo whatever damage you’ve done to your spine). When it comes to moving, flat-pack furniture falls flat.

[Photo: courtesy Martin Gschwandtl / Out of Necessity]
For Out of Necessity’s first product, a coat rack, Gschwandtl designed a product that embodied a truly movable version of flat-pack design. It has just six components, making it fast and uncomplicated to build and break down. The components are made from robust materials–solid ash and steel–so it will hold up over time.

The points of failure in flat-pack design are often where components are joined. Screw holes drilled into wood can wear down–instead, Gschwandtl used threaded metal inserts so that the components would hold together just as well the first time you assemble the piece as the 15th. Lastly, the disassembled piece is easy to transport: All of the parts can be stored inside the shelf when turned upside down, making them easy to carry at the same time.

While Out of Necessity is Gschwandtl’s side project, his work at Ammunition–the company behind Beats by Dre headphones, Lyft’s Glowstache, and its Glowstache replacement–impacted the new brand’s direction. “We try to let the work speak for itself,” he says. “There is always a clear message, but no need to scream it out loud because our goal is that people will immediately understand and connect with it. This is something I appreciate and I can identify with, so it helped to shape my approach to Out of Necessity.”

Gschwandtl is currently in talks with manufacturers to bring the coat rack to market and expects the price to be under $500. Next up for the designer? Introducing a table, a mirror, and a bed to the collection.

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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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