1. Fitting in

Fitting in

Ever heard of furniture without a frame? That too weather-proof, recyclable and made of just high-density foam? A new product line shows how design innovations today push the limits of imagination

By: | Published: March 13, 2016 12:06 AM

FURNITURE WITHOUT a structure, that’s what creativity can extend to. And that creativity was what Pieter Jamart and Michel Sels attempted to harness when they founded furniture and design company Sixinch Design in Belgium in 2003—they named the company Sixinch after the approximate distance between the two ears of a human, the space where all creativity lies.

Sixinch, which recently entered India, is globally known for creating, designing and manufacturing high-end furniture and architectural products, but what makes it stand out is its specialisation in creating customised full-foam furniture of any shape, size or colour of the customer’s choice without any support of wood, spring or metal. But how is this scientifically supported, one wonders. “Full-foam furniture is made out of pretty high-density foam compared with traditional furniture-making. The high density of the foam prevents it from sagging or losing its shape. Also, the design is made in a way that it doesn’t require any other support. These have all been tested for,” says Namrata Seth, director of Sixinch India, the Indian arm of the franchise.

Designers start with a big block of high-density foam, which is cut into the shape requested by the customer—the density and resilience of the foam can vary depending on the customer’s choice. After that, different kinds of coatings are applied. “I won’t be able to tell in detail the technology we employ due to confidentiality, but, let’s just say, we first design a model on the computer and have it cut in high-density foam. This can be 2D or 3D. Then we use a kind of primer to prepare the foam. After this, it gets the most important layers that provide flexibility and strength. The last layer is a UV-stable special one that gives it the colour and softness. You can produce a complete piece in about two days’ time,” says Michel Sels, who founded the company when he was just 21 years old.

What you get is a piece of furniture in the shape, size and colour of your liking, which is weather-proof, UV-stable, hygienic, easy to maintain, comfortable and child-friendly—it can be incorporated for residential, as well as commercial use across indoor and outdoor spaces. Plus, the foam is recyclable, so it can be repaired till a certain level, adding to the product’s durability. The only limitation, besides your imagination, is maybe the size, says 33-year-old Seth. All the products are designed at Sixinch factories and hence the bigger the furniture, the more cumbersome is its transportation.

In India, the company will offer products from its available collection, as well as customised full-foam furniture.

“Consumers can view our products online on our website www.sixinch india.in or contact us directly. We are initially focused on the B2B market. In the near future, we will expand our channels to include e-commerce platforms also,” says Gagandeep Bhatia, director, Sixinch India, adding, “We are keen to set up our flagship store in New Delhi by 2017.” Till then, business will happen online. As far as the price range is concerned, it depends on the product and the application, says Seth. “The price range of the Sixinch collection starts from Rs 8,000 per square metre of foam and varies depending upon the complexity of design and the level of customisation,” she says.

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