Xanxan was first conceived under the challenge of reducing the material cost and ecological impact of an existing concept. As market research went on, the lack of flexibility and adaptability of the existing shelves to user and space needs drove the project to the final solution.
The project was self-commissioned from the studio itself as a means to prove its design skills.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Xanxan is a shelf featuring customizable configurations and optimized transport and storage space.
The product consists of two anchor posts to which a web of strings is fastened. It includes a simple mechanism that allows the user to adjust the tension of each string in order to provide a straight support surface.
Xanxan can hold everything a standard shelf holds and it can act as a hanger, too. But more importantly: compared to a standard shelf, Xanxan uses seven times less wood, requires a storage space nine times lower and weights four times less.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
For Xanxan's installation, the user first needs to decide the position of each post depending on the total length of the shelf he/she needs. Once the position is determined, three holes must be drilled in the wall to screw each post into.
With the anchor posts fixed, four string segments are cut in order to allow for 2.5 times the distance between posts. Each of these segments is then tied to the posts in the following manner: the two extremes of each segment are inserted to the same post adding a knot to hold them in place, the rope -now an arc- is inserted to the hole in the opposite post and held in place by the wooden peg.
Finally, after all the strings are installed, the pegs must be turned. With every turn of the peg, the strand twists on itself increasing its tension, and after enough turns, the loose rope becomes a tight string able to support weight without appreciable warping.
Once the product is installed and the strings are taut, the shelf can now be filled with books, Cd's, and everything the user wants. It can even act as a hanger and it's really easy and fast to clean.
Over time the shelf can lose its tension, if this happens the user only has to give the pegs a few more turns so the string is taut again.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in the Polytechnical University of Valencia, where its first 5 months of development took part. After finishing their degree, Smallgran founders created the Valencia based studio where the design was then finished after 7 more months of work.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The wooden pieces are formed by lathing the hard Maple Wood and later drilling the holes: three for the screws at the base and four for the strings at the pole. This process can be done by hand for loose units or through automated processes for industrial scale units.
The string is a standard Paracord that the user cuts at a specific length according to the distance at which the two anchor posts are installed.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Product: 300-1500* mm x 220 mm x 85 mm.
* This dimension depends on how it is installed.
Package: 90 mm x 70 mm x 245 mm
Weight supported: up to 20 kg.
Xanxan, Minimum Shelf, Shelf, Adaptable, Customizable, Hanger, Space Saving, Material Saving, Sustainable, Cord, Rope
This project was driven mainly by market research and experimentation.
Starting from the goal of reducing the material cost and ecological impact of an existing concept we started to study companies as big as Ikea in order to understand their approach and to find an unexploited product category in which we could contribute with fresh ideas.
Once we decided we would work on a shelf, we conducted a focused market research in this field and found a market niche in adaptable shelves that could allow us to develop our initial goal while delivering an interesting and new design proposal.
At this point, we had two very interesting foundations and started to work on the concept design. This phase was filled with a lot of model experimentation and testing. Since we already had the requisites for shelves fixed by the best-selling shelves in the market, our need was to meet this requirements to ensure product viability. At our studio's workshop, we developed several prototypes by ourselves and tested their performance.The final solution was picked based on it's simplicity, performance and interaction with the user.
For the detailed design phase we worked hand to hand with master carpenters of Valencia in order to pick the best materials and the optimum shape manufacture-wise.
The main design challenge we encountered was to develop a solution that would feel new and creative while fulfilling the initial goal of reducing the material cost and ecological impact of an existing product concept.
From the technical perspective, this product posed three main challenges:
1. Developing a tensioning mechanism for the strings. It had to fix the strings, allowing for progressive tensioning without the need to disassemble the product and we needed to keep it simple in order to maintain the cost low.
2. Finding a wood that is light-weight and cheap but at the same time resistant and tough enough to withstand the tension of the strands.
3. Finding a rope that holds it's mechanical and dimensional properties over time, and is cheap, lightweight and feels good.
TEAM MEMBERS (5) :
Luis Herram, Carles Marquina Selfa, Francesc Duart Escribà, Carlos Carrasco Fraile and Borja Miret García
Image #1: Smallgran, Xanxan, 2016.
Image #2: Smallgran, Xanxan, 2016.
Image #3: Smallgran, Xanxan, 2016.
Image #4: Smallgran, Xanxan, 2016.
Image #5: Smallgran, Xanxan, 2016.