Unto This Last: Micro-Manufacturing Hits the High Street

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In 1860 John Ruskin wrote "Unto This Last" and railed against the industrial revolution, advocating a return to the local craftsman's workshop. Nearly 150 years later, we go to IKEA to buy flatpacked furniture that is made who knows where and shippped around the world to the store near us. Visionaries like Kieran Timberlake talked years ago about how new technology will change mass production into mass customization, but now it is actually happening and hitting the High Streets. Unto This Last is a furniture company in London where they throw their Sabots into the mill of traditional mass production. Using the latest 3d modelling software and a big CNC machine at the back of the shop, they make flat-pack furniture to order.intothelast2.jpg

Instead of shipping and storing furniture, they have a load of sustainably harvested Latvian and Finnish plywood. When an order is placed it is manufactured to order. "This system allows us to offer most of our products in a wide range of sizes with a variety of finishes. We hope you will find the product that fits your space and your budget.
This organisation simplifies logistics and cuts costs : we do without warehousing, transportation or packaging. This is what allows us to offer you prices that compete with mass-production, in spite of our reduced scale."

Now, instead of the massive infrastructure of the big box furniture store, a network of local shops can make furniture locally, distribute it locally and keep the labour and investment local- the Small-Mart of furniture. According to the company : "we plan to grow by duplicating our workshop in other locations, for your convenience, and the pleasure of making things differently."- we can't wait. ::Unto This Last via ::Springwise

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