Thoughts about new product design and its relationship to the end user and society
Prepared for a Global Design Forum - Nikita Grigoriev
How the Freedom Design improves life and for whom
People who need to sleep on a sofabed are benefiting the most from the Freedom Frame design. It is a general concession that compromise in a sofabed is inevitable due to its multi-functional nature. People expect and accept that a sofabed will not be an ideal bed or sofa but a compromise of both. Yet the sofabed is an essential piece of furniture in a small space. The Freedom Frame is the solution to the sofabed dilemma. It is the only sofabed design that provides: an ideal sleeping surface, an ergonomically pitched sofa, a self-adjusting recliner with an infinite range of positions, effortless self-balancing conversion, mobility on wheels, light-weight portability, compactness, great strength, clean styling and low cost. These benefits are achieved by virtue of its totally efficient design. Based on the simple geometry of its few parts that rotate into different configurations and functions, it is sophisticated yet simple to make. It is totally user friendly and free of compromise.
Description of the design thinking
I see an embodied design as the nexus that organically unites all aspects of its interaction lifetime. The good design is born in the pursuit of the quintessential solution to clearly perceived and sharply defined user needs, inadequately addressed by prior art. It is developed within a matrix of total efficiency with respect to its material, production, use, maintenance, repair and eventual recyclement. Design sophistication is increased through reduction and simplification by maximum multi-tasking of parts. The Freedom Frame is an embodiment of all these design principles. Total design efficiency translates into minimal material and manufacturing requirements, allowing it to be made from industry leftovers, in small high-capacity shops. Production of hardwood Freedom Frames flows through work stations, strategically located to avoid double handling. Rotation of workers through work stations maintains overall competence and prevents boredom.
How the design aspect of the Freedom Convertible helped to provide coherence concerning form, function, resources and user friendliness
Design coherence is achieved in the Freedom Frame by attaining total structural and functional unity. Its structure is its mechanism. The beams that give it great support as a bed also impart great rigidity by cross-bracing the legs. Yet these same beams and legs rotate as the FF converts to lock itself into the sofa position and become the back and seat supports. The user needs only to initiate conversion and the FF itself completes it. Because the FF self-balances as it converts, not only is the process virtually effortless, but it offers the user an infinite range of reclining positions. Thus, conversion is in itself an enjoyable use of the FF as a self-adjusting recliner. This multi-tasking of parts, or total design efficiency results in minimal redundancy and waste, and promotes effective resource utilization on a renewable and sustainable basis. Thus, Freedom Frame styling is clean and light with great strength, comfort and total user-friendliness.
Design process used to create the Freedom Design
I turned my attention to sofabed design at a retailer's request, which resulted in the first ever patent on a futon sofabed. It was a 3-panel design based on fulcrums. I was dissatisfied with the fact that the sofa's seat was not ergonomically pitched and it relied on inefficient extras such as springs and bulk for its outer structure. Sofabed retailers kept me abreast of inadequacies in existing sofabed art. The flat seat problem was addressed with a new design based on unfolding triangles. This 3-panel design needed extra legs and straps to drop out and support the bed. Seeking a simpler, more efficient solution, I tried a new triangle concept as applied to a 2-panel design. If the triangles were not rigid, but could reconfigure themselves by virtue of a specifically calculated 4 bar linkage, then panels, structural legs and converting mechanism would be one and the same. Thus was born the Freedom Frame, the quintessential sofabed.
Short description of the Freedom Design
The Freedom Frame is a new, totally efficient sofabed design that is free of compromise. Its structure is its mechanism. It is essentially a four bar linkage that rotates into different triangle configurations. Its motion is counter balanced and virtually effortless because it maintains its center of mass at nearly the same height above the floor at all times. It's a perfectly flat and rigid bed, an ergonomically pitched sofa and a self-adjusting, infinite recliner made of sustainable hardwood.
Very short description of the Freedom Design
Freedom Frame is the quintessential sofabed
Functionality and use of the Freedom Design
The Freedom Frame's self-balancing variable geometry virtually converts itself; the user needs only to initiate conversion and the FF completes it, so a child or elderly person could do it. By relaxing and leaning back all the way to prone, the FF will self-lock into rigid bed. One needs only to flip out the flipbar to initiate motion. Wheel's on the FF's pivotal legs facilitate reclining and relocating. Freedom Frames in chair size may be rolled in from separate rooms to make a large bed.