The Development Of Morph
Watching with frustration the devastating impact of the furniture industry on our environment led WE to develop a new sustainable construction system, Morph®.
A report commissioned by European Environmental Bureau (EEB) states that 10 million tonnes of furniture are discarded by businesses and consumers in EU Member States each year. According to European Federation of Furniture Manufacturers (UEA) statistics, 80% to 90% of the EU furniture waste in MSW (municipal solid waste) is incinerated or sent to landfill, with only 10% recycled.
The office furniture market lacks affordable 100% recycled products, company balance sheets often write off furniture assets after time, leading to replacement for new. Plasterboard is disposed of as dilapidations return buildings to the original shell before being filled again with similar dividers in the latest layout…..this waste has to stop.
WE has been promoting modular furniture sales for over a decade, endorsing the increased longevity of products that can be repurposed to meet changing needs. We’ve also been making a stand for a new direction for the industry and searched for products that were environmentally sustainable, contributing to the growing movement for a truly circular economy. We found a severe lack of options using recycled material and virtually no products that were easily recyclable without lengthy re-engineering processes.
Morph® – a sustainable flexible solution
Morph® offers a flexible, multi-purpose, 100% recycled system allowing repurposing of assets to reduce waste, encourage long-term investment and inspire a mindful approach to work interiors. It is inherently designed to enable 'new' products to be built to meet changing requirements.
Our idea started with experiments and research in a shed, at home, in how to recycle plastic ourselves. This later moved to experimenting with recycled filament and 3D printing. Gradually, and with a target of creating some useful furniture at home, we began to develop cubes of plastic to create a modular construction system.
Once our broad vision for the product was agreed, a relatively quick progression followed. After several weeks and many versions of cube and connection system trials, we created Morph® and working through a DFM (design for manufacture) process, a prototype injection mould was developed.
As Covid lockdown hit we entered competitions to obtain support & investment to begin building and trialling products. On our third attempt we succeeded in winning an Innovate UK sustainability grant.
The grant has allowed mass production of Morph® components, product design, tests and trials. We have successfully built desks, walls, tiered seating, meeting bays, dividers and tables of various sizes, deconstructing one to build another. Some examples are shown below.
In our current testing phase we have been using ABS sourced from industry waste product. Whilst it is our ambition to progress onto using more challenging sources of recycled raw material, this current industry by-product source of raw material works well during the trials.
To date we have installed a number of walls, tables, and furniture items into test client areas and the feedback is excellent. We are progressing into the development of other ranges within the Morph® product, such as Giant Morph which allows faster repurposing of furniture between different furniture types ie bleacher style seating breaking down to low benches within minutes.
Watch this space for our new product demo video which will bring Morph® to life for potential end users, (Video can now be seen here) designers and architects. This will be followed by product configuration software to allow designers, architects and early adopters to experiment with our designs and quickly order product.
Where will Morph® go?
Morph® offers a genuinely flexible solution where products can be taken apart and repurposed as required giving companies the flexibility they need to face the challenges ahead.
WE are committed to a truly circular economy and will be exploring opportunities to encourage responsible production and use, be it a buy back option for our customers, local production hubs worldwide reducing travel impact, industry and consumer collaboration and co-operation including hire options and expanding our raw materials to the worst polluting plastics.
You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
[Buckminster [EB1] Fuller]