Mix-Up: an upholstered configurable furniture line that utilizes five different-shaped products to produce endless arrangements. With its 3 base color options, 5 different shapes, and hundreds of fabrics to choose from, Norix’s new series offers lots of potential for customization. We brought in an expert to learn more. Norix’s Borna Mali, primary engineer of Mix-Up, shares her thoughts:
Borna, what is your role at Norix and what were your responsibilities in the creation of Mix-Up?
I am a part of Norix’s engineering team, and I was the Design Engineer for Mix-Up. As such, I had many responsibilities. Naturally, I designed the product and redesigned it after every round of feedback. I also developed prototypes, created the bill of materials, tested performance and designed the mold needed to form Mix-Up’s rotationally molded base.
How did the idea for this product come about?
I think our marketing team recognized a need for this kind of modular seating in our target industries. Colleges, healthcare facilities, etc., need more upholstered options for configurable furniture that can be customized to fit their needs. When I was first assigned to this project about ten months ago, we already had a general idea of what we needed, but the image was a bit fuzzy. I took what our marketing team envisioned and basically worked out all the details necessary to bring it to life.
Who chose the name “Mix-Up” and why?
Because you can mix it up, of course! Our marketing team chose that name because one of the greatest features about Mix-Up is that you can interchange the five different-shaped pieces to create infinite configurations. With so many options, we wanted to encourage people to mix and match.
What are some of Mix-Up’s most important design features?
The Mix-Up line features a lot of options and that flexibility really adds to its value. It’s not just the five different shapes that give you that freedom. You can also choose from three base colors, and hundreds of fabric and vinyl upholstery options that range in quality and price point. This gives our customers the freedom to choose a material that not only matches their interior, but also fits into their budget and/or withstands the physical demands of their facility. The best thing about Mix-Up is that it is what you make of it.
I understand Norix uses very high quality materials to create Mix-Up. How so?
For Mix-Up, we use high-density foam designed specifically for seat cushions. The advantage here is that it can withstand compression (I.E. the weight of a person sitting) and bounce right back. Even in constant-use environments the cushion height will not shrink and become denser over the lifetime of the product. This keeps the upholstery taught, thus preventing it from getting damaged.
We use high-impact rotationally molded polyethylene for Mix-Up’s base. It’s a fantastic material and we actually use this quite a lot at Norix. It can take a beating and still look like new. Not to get too technical, but it has good rigidity and dimensional stability, which means this plastic stays in exactly the shape you need it to be. It’s resistant to fluids, breakage, flexing or warping. Personally, I like its glossy finish. I think it gives the product more of a high-end look.
Is there a particular industry or setting where you envision Mix-Up being used the most?
Well that’s just the thing. This configurable furniture line is great because it can go nearly anywhere. In true Norix fashion, it is designed to withstand the demands of an intensive-use environment but it could fit in just as well in an office or commercial setting.
Do you have a favorite or recommended configuration?
Actually I don’t. This line is so versatile, I want to encourage our customers to think creatively about what is best for their space. So rather than recommending they use one arrangement over another, I’m excited to see what people come up with. The one thing I would advise is to take advantage of the wedge’s ability to squeeze right up against the sides of the rectangle or square. Using that piece makes it all fit together very nicely.
Did you have a favorite part of working on this project?
I like all the parts. From designing it, to making the prototype, to testing … it’s hard to choose a favorite. When you’re involved in every step of the process, there is always an opportunity to learn something new. Every day was a little different so this project was never boring.
For more information on the Mix-Up Series, please visit: http://www.norix.com/mix-up.asp