Truly bespoke furniture is expensive, as it should be. If an experienced master
craftsperson is going to put in the days of labor, not to mention the
back-and-forth with you to settle upon a custom solution you're happy with, the cost creeping
into four and five figures is understandable.
However, the folks out of Nashville-based Arrister are betting that there's a market
above the big-box stores and below true bespoke: Someone who needs, for
instance, a simple rectilinear table of custom dimensions—precisely sized in
length and width to fit into a nook particular to their house, for instance, or
of a particular height to properly suit tall or short people.
Thus they've launched a Kickstarter for their Parsonal project, which aims to
provide furniture of predetermined designs, but made-to-measure.
I should point out that while the campaign states that "Each furniture
piece is hand crafted in Nashville, Tennessee using Appalachian timber"
and "you won't find MDF or particle board here," which is
commendable, that doesn't mean there is no engineered wood involved; the
woodniks among you are probably wondering how they could pull off a captured
frame for the top, given that there aren't breadboard ends to compensate for
wood movement, and the team told us that the tops are made of "a high
quality hardwood ply (B/BB Baltic birch)."
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I think the concept is sound and that the web interface shown in the video, with
the adjustable sliders and such, is well-conceived; additionally, the team is
looking for a relatively small amount—just $36,000—so I was surprised to see
that at press time, they were underfunded by more than 50%, with less than $14,000
pledged and a mere 16 days to go.
So, feedback time: As we've all seen Kickstarters asking more hit the goal much
faster than this, what do you fellow designers feel is the culprit? I suspect that the
individual price points may be too high for objects with a relatively
Ikea-esque aesthetic, see photos and numbers below:
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Do you think the market's not ready for something like this, or is it something
else? Very curious to get the readership's feedback here.