Finkeldei Design Studio: user-centered furniture for small living spaces
Flis tabel modules can be disassembled without tools and offer a high rate of usable possibilities due to their connectivity with each other
Founded by Jonas Finkeldei, Finkeldei Design Studio is a German furniture and product design company that places a strong emphasis on user-centered design. The founder’s goal is to create designs that bring people together and raise awareness about the use of their products.
The studio focuses on creating designs that are user-friendly, particularly in small living spaces. One of their most notable designs is the Flis Table, which was recognized with the DesignWanted Award (see all winners) for its ability to adapt to changing living spaces and be manufactured at a low cost by artisans.
The company‘s design philosophy emphasizes achieving balance between people, the environment, and nature, with the use of 3D modeling and a thorough understanding of user needs as vital tools during the design process. They are working toward inclusive and age-appropriate designs that also address social goals and take into consideration the manufacturing process and recycling.
Let’s delve further into the Finkeldei design studio and their project that is set to be showcased at the ‘Innovation for Living’ exhibition, a collaborative effort between DesignWanted, Designtech, and Isola Design, taking place at La Cattedrale (Certosa area) during the upcoming Milan Design Week (17-23 April).
What is Finkeldei design studio? How did your design journey begin?
“Finkeldei design Studio is at the beginning of its journey. It was founded through my studies, with the ambition to design and develop user-centered furniture and products for the living area. I am a trained carpenter and have gained professional experience before my design time, also family-related, through the in-house carpentry.
An interest that came up in designing my own furniture helped me to decide to study “Designer in Craft” at the Academy of Design in Münster, Germany.”
Why Finkeldei design studio, why focusing on modular furniture systems?
“Through my studies I learned to better understand social structures in relation to my design philosophy and to define for myself the necessary requirements for a good coexistence between people, their products and our environment. This led to the desire to design my own furniture and products that, in addition to design, bring people together and sensitize them to the use of the products.
I would not necessarily say that Finkeldei design has focused on multifunctional furniture, but the designˋs created so far relate to the interaction between user and product, reduced living space in the home and the user-friendliness for many people.
Functional furniture, if well made, saves more resources and is used more mindfully. This is a point that will definitely play a role in future design.”
You won the DesignWanted Award with Flis Tabel, a table that grows along with the house, to be manufactured inexpensively by craftsman‘s businesses. How did you come up with the idea?
“Flis was my final thesis at the academy. My working title “Furniture Culture 2050” was a bit ambitious, but the background questions defined it: How will we live with our material things in the future? How do we behave in ever smaller spaces? And how do we live among ourselves and with each other? The climate crisis, lack of resources and intangible waste generation also played a role.
A table is a piece of furniture where people come together to eat, talk, work and socialize. A furniture that functions as a center of get together, exchange and work and use area should also be rounded by the concept.
Flis tabel modules can be disassembled without tools and offer a high rate of usable possibilities due to their connectivity with each other. Modules can be exchanged, converted or reworked according to needs.
Craft businesses not only make themselves available for making the modules, but are also the possible interface for taking back, exchanging and adapting the tables. In this way, the craft sector could present itself as fit for the future in relation to industry.”
How would you describe your design philosophy? What are the aspects that you focus on the most when developing new products?
“Designers are problem solvers, but also problem creators, everything we design has consequences. I see my role in thinking through product designs to the end and create a balance between people among themselves, but also with our environment and nature.
I try to reduce my designs to the essentials, delineate shapes and create a clear image. Minimalism that leaves room for association, sympathetic and optimistic effect and creates a sense of well-being in the mind of the user.”
From an industrial design perspective, which are your vital tools, resources, and methods for you during the design process?
“I would say that for me the briefing comes first. It is essential to understand the real needs of the future users and to include them in the process. From this point, it is possible to define target questions, focus on basic design decisions and also intensify the process.
As a craftsman, I quickly move into simple model making to better understand real proportions. 3D-modeling in a CAD program helps me make the variations and design decisions. For process loops, I also like to use renderings in combination with proportion and functional models to discuss the further procedure with all involved persons.”
What do you believe are the main trends & future directions within product design and what do you think of them?
“We are already moving away from purely aesthetic product design, it is becoming more and more important to consider the background of manufacturing, process design and recycling. Repairability, adaptability of a product are important and will become even more important in the future.
Inclusive design, age-appropriate design and the design of social goals are many points that designers will consider in the future and already demand a lot from them today. I support this direction and would be happy if the responsibility awareness continues to grow rapidly and we create the transformation towards a more circular and ecological as well as social economy.”
What is the next step for Finkeldei design studio?
“In a collaboration with the organization ” Producten Next Door”, from Hamburg, the Flis table modules are further developed for handcrafted series production and later offered for sale.
Production Next Door develops technologies and a digital platform to promote cost-efficient, local production of individualized furniture by regional artisans and small or medium-sized production companies through dynamic AI-generated value chains. I am very happy to have found a partner who is willing to drive and co-develop the actual concept of the work.”