Salone del Mobile Milano

Trend research: Customized Home -
Do it Your Way


The digital ecosystem and the new rapid prototyping and laser cutting tools are turning design into an increasingly “open” and collaborative process. The new technologies and the advent of fab labs have enabled consumers to be involved in creation and production, underscoring the concept of design as a source of curiosity, inspiration and participation, even for the untrained.

What is known as the Third Industrial Revolution, which has triggered the rise of makers – the new digital artisans – cleverly combines tradition and innovation, setting up a virtuous circle between manual skills, the rehabilitation of ancient techniques – often very closely linked to specific places – and the new technologies and industrial production.

People recognise the value of uniqueness, quality and attention to detail in these products, as well as their strong local roots. Accessories, furniture and furnishing thus become one-offs, unique objects that are highly sought-after and aspirational because they have a story to tell.  


Inspired by the popular round lamps found in all over flea markets in Thailand (made by wrapping and gluing cotton thread around a small ball which is then made to explode), Bangkok-based THINKK Studio, has come up with a low-tech, energy efficient machine that recreates a similar process and allows people to make lampshades out of thread, customisable in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.

Lanna Factory is a simple wooden frame with five spindles – each with a different coloured thread – and a pedal-operated wheel. The thread is pulled through a container of glue and is wrapped around a PVC mould, activated by the pedals. Once the glue is dry, the lampshade can be removed from the mould. 


The user has a choice of shapes, weave and coloured threads, making each lampshade, made out of lattices of overlapping multicolour threads, uniqueWe believe that everyone needs something to suit their lifestyle and interior space but it is rarely found in mass production […] From this Lanna Factory, the lampshade can be produced in the same shape and colour. But in the detail, it is different every time, says Decha Archjananun of THINKK Studio.

Bearing in mind the increasing popularity of DIY, Berlin-based Israeli designer-maker Ningal has created a pair of Open Source chairs designed to be put together at home by the user. Nothing out of the ordinary, one might think, but FABrics chairs are also designed to be manufactured locally by their buyers – no matter where they are – like their own personal project.


All the component parts, such as the wood finish, the type of leather and colour of the rivets, can be customised by the user. Once everything is ready, it’s time to put all the parts together and it’s job … or rather chair … done.

Although not everyone has the opportunity or the need to have an island unit in their kitchen, it’s always useful to have extra space for utensils or food preparation.


The Riff Raff Kitchen Island, from Wake the Tree Furniture design studio in Pennsylvania, is a good-looking piece of standalone, entirely handmade, monobloc kitchen furniture, its shape reminiscent of mid-20th century modernism. It is made of black walnut from Pennsylvania, with bright powder-coated metal peg boards on either side for hanging utensils and room for stowing away all the “riff raff” and it also has shelves for fast access to the more frequently used utensils.

Each piece is made to order and can be customised at will, with a choice of wood, colours and configuration. Variation in paint colours & wood species even dimension changes are welcome. We’ll work with you through this process to see that you get exactly what you envision, says the website.