Design and Assemble Your Own Custom Furniture with Modeo

Mohamad Salhab, Mar 07 2016

Are you tired of looking for the right piece of furniture that fits nicely at your house without over-paying for custom-designed products? Are you tired of the increasingly expensive shipping fees of moving your furniture?

Introducing Modeo, an easy to use, do-it-yourself app offering light standard modular parts that you can connect yourself - almost like Lego building blocks - to design tables, chairs, shelves, or storage compartments., then have them shipped to you for easy assembly.

Furniture On the Go

Two years ago, young Lebanese architects Emile Arayes and Aline Gemayel had had it. Every time they had to move houses they needed to go through the expensive process of renting moving vans to transport their furniture or buy new furniture.

“We used to create our own furniture using traditional materials and techniques which required a lot of time, money, and expertise. We always asked this question: Isn’t there any easier way to do it?” said Arayes.

That's when the duo started developing Modeo, a quick and easy way to build their own furniture, and disassemble it for transport whenever they move.

The furniture concept is built around three simple modular parts (planks and connectors) that come in multiple materials and colors. These can be easily connected to create any piece of furniture for the home or office. Basically, anyone can easily assemble the pieces and pack them (if needed) without any tools.

The startup will deal with external suppliers and service providers to manufacture the parts and ship them in a short time very quickly as soon as the client makes the order. In addition, the co-founders are working on a catalog of ready-to-order items in  kits, which will be developed by a community of designers.

Reality Meets Digital   

The Modeo app will act as an online store that allows customers to design and customize their own furniture on their smartphone, then order the pieces.

The augmented reality feature of the app gives customers the chance to visualize how their creations will look inside their home, using their smartphone’s camera. This technology allows users to customize the online templates and match them in both design and dimension with the furniture of their homes, ensuring customer satisfaction.

Using the app requires no professional design or programming skills; users simply drag and drop the digitized components on the app’s dashboard. however, the app offers users assistance in the form of pre-loaded models that can be customized (modifying the dimensions, colors, and shape) to fit different tastes.

The app calculates the number and price of the necessary parts for each designed item, and sends the bill to customers, prior to shipment..

For large orders (schools, office or residential buildings, etc.) Modeo could propose on-location installation assistance for an extra cost.

The basic app will be free of charge, with the possibility to add a paid premium version later on with extra features that will be helpful for advanced users (professional product designers, interior decorators, architects, etc.).

Sustainable Furniture Means No More Waste or Regrets

The co-founders are currently fine-tuning a sustainable concept to complement their offering. The modular, easy-to-assemble, and easy-to-replace parts already mean that consumers will reduce waste. Should a piece break, there is no need to pay a hefty price to repair the entire item or replace it (or worse, throw it away); all you have to do is order a replacement part for a minimal cost.

Furthermore, Gemayel and Arayes are experimenting with different eco-friendly and recyclable materials to manufacture the parts.

This means they will be able to implement a sustainable business model as well, whereby they could buy back old or unneeded used parts to reuse them or resell them at reduced prices. Damaged parts could also be recyclable, thereby further reducing waste.

“We want Modeo to achieve the maximum reduction in use of resources, while maintaining the quality, speed, and low cost of its product,” said Arayes.

“Our goal is to create experiential work environments and spaces that stand the test of time aesthetically and functionally,” he added.

Your New Furniture Is Coming Soon

Modeo has attracted high interest for its originality, completing a 3-month acceleration program at Speed@BDD early this year. It received a $30,000 investment, and was showcased at the accelerator’s Demo Day in February.

The startup then entered its production phase and was selected as one of the winners of the Startup Challenge competition, organized by the World Bank and the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications, as part of the “Mobile Internet ecosystem” project.

In addition, Gemayel recently earned 2nd place, 8,000 euros and an integration into the incubator of Berytech in the “Femme Francophone Entrepreneur” competition  organized by Berytech and the middle east office of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie.

The startup has already begun delivering its prototypes to early adopters for testing. As soon as the final product is released, the old prototype will be replaced.

The team currently consists of 5 members, including the co-founders, a software engineer, a game developer, and a business advisor. Arayes said they are aiming for a new round of investment to expand the team and accelerate product development.

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