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Multifunctional furniture – innovative product units of future living spaces

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The purpose of the project is to explore, develop and prototypically manufacture a technologically advanced, innovative, high-quality and environment-friendly product: “Multifunctional furniture – innovative product units of living spaces of the future” with the final objective of equipping “active and intelligent houses/living spaces” and a more competitive appearance at the EU and foreign markets. To attain this objective new construction-design solutions need to be explored and developed, the technological production processes need to be upgraded and adjusted as well as new advanced materials need to be developed and introduced.     

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The extent and complexity of the target product or the complex system exceeds the capacity of only one enterprise. This is why the leading enterprises of the Slovenian furniture industry, namely BREST (project holder), TOM, SVEA, KOLPA and SILVAPRODUKT joined forces in the field of research and development as well as their production capacities. The complexity of the product demands intensive support of the knowledge and research institutions in the field of wood economy, textile industry, agriculture engineering, machine manufacture, information technology, electronics and automation. At the level of industrial researches a partnership between the technological platforms SGLTP, SGTP, NaMAT and NESSI is being formed to support the product initiative.  

The project deals with and solves the problem of non-flexibility of internal living furniture which is – from the view-point of the final user – static. Namely, users cannot change the intended function of the space. Multifunctional internal equipment (furniture) enables users to quickly change the purpose of the living space with products which can be composed according to their concept and their construction-design. The challenge of how to increase the flexibility and responsiveness of internal equipment to the new concepts of “intelligent houses” and changed living habits will eventually become more expressed so that new solutions of how to connect the “intelligent furniture” with “intelligent house” into a unified  and coherent system will be needed.     

For enterprises, which are included in the project, the question of new living spaces represents an opportunity for a thorough renovation of technological procedures and modernisation of production. The synergies of project cooperation of five enterprises will reflect in the form of attaining competitive advantage through:

  • Raising the level of productivity
  • Lowering costs
  • Higher quality and recognition of products
  • Attaining environmental standards 
  • Opportunities to sell in higher price ranges
  • Attaining a higher gross value added per employee
  • Possibility of new employments, and last but certainly most important
  • Establishment of R&D groups and young educated people in entrepreneurship.   


The issue that the participating enterprises of the Slovenian furniture industry are trying to solve represents an opportunity to raise the technological complexity of products and processes to a substantively higher level and refute the stereotypes regarding the low prospects of the branch. The high level of interest by the strategic partners (e.g. IKEA) regarding the final results and the possibilities of commercialisation indicate that the project is interesting and realisable.   

Key project objectives are: a quality multilayered and usable product; development of new construction-design solutions; development of new “intelligent” materials; eco-component and sustainable development and the establishment of R&D work with the support of science.    

The product needs to have a wide range of use, not only for equipping living spaces but also for the objects of other purpose (healthcare, educational system, social security, etc.). New construction-design solutions are extremely important as they help us achieve multi-functionality and flexibility. They are reflected in innovations which strengthen construction firmness, composability/decomposability as well as resistance to mechanical and other factors. The new “intelligent” materials (nano and the modification of the cellular structure of natural polymer) are the basic gradients of the construction-design solutions. They represent the unsuspected opportunities for the product, as well as energy efficiency, aesthetic effects, etc. The eco component is, on the one hand, reflected in the high level of use (reuse) of water and energy when using the product, and, on the other hand, in the possibility of a quick and simple decomposition of the product and its use in energy and other purposes. An important project objective is the establishment of an active partnership between the R&D groups in enterprises and in the knowledge and research institutions as well as the increased transfer of knowledge and solutions into practice.   

The project is co-financed in the framework of the Operational Programme for Strengthening Regional Development Potentials for the period 2007–2013, Public call for proposals for the initiatives for joint development-investment projects – RIP 09. The overall value of the project is 7,585,982 Euros; the European Regional Development Fund contributions amounts to 3,110,825 Euros (EU and national contribution).     

In 2012 the project was included into the competition for the RegioStars Award – the European Commission award for innovative projects. 

Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Kotnikova 5, 1000 Ljubljana

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