In 2009 two designers, sharing a neo-modernist vision of functional, elegant design, decided to break free of PR-driven product strategies to create a furniture company focusing on the interplay between object and context. In order to realise their vision, they assumed control of the entire production chain – manufacturing, sales and marketing. This pioneering approach has paid off handsomely, not only in design clarity, but also in distinguished awards, renowned clients and representation in the permanent collection of the Swedish National Museum of Arts.
Clarity and purpose
The name Massproductions alludes to the beauty of efficient, sustainable, high quality industrial production. By working closely with the engineers and machine operators at their production facilities, Massproductions ensure the integrity of their vision down to every cut and bend.
Holistic understanding of the manufacturing process – from tools to materials and environmental concerns – not only makes the whole process more efficient, but adds clarity and purpose to the designs.
Building on the clean, functional elegance of modernism, Massproductions brings its core principles into the post-digital era. This translates to multifunctional, highly adaptable products – a smart, contemporary toolbox for architects and interior designers.
Design for the real world
To designer-in-chief Chris Martin form is a byproduct of function, materials and production processes. He has been called a minimalist but in fact he’s a radical pragmatist, drawing inspiration from the production line rather than from artistic imagination. In his own words, “We make real products for the real world, developed at our own pace.”
The designs tend to be the result of thorough research, exploring the properties of promising materials – steel wire, cold-cured foam, wood – and Chris Martin figuring out the best way to make them do his bidding.
Even when the design challenges are hard the end result looks simple. When you make smart, usable pieces of furniture you don’t need flamboyant gestures. Beauty comes naturally.
Removing the filters
Magnus Elebäck is a designer turned entrepreneur and CEO, devising Massproductions’ unique way of doing business. By controlling the entire production chain, the filters inherent in a designer/producer relationship are removed. A seamless, fully transparent design and manufacturing process gives Massproductions the ability to create products that would otherwise be hard to conceive, or risk getting stuck somewhere in the development process.
Once Elebäck and Martin have settled on a design, they work directly with the engineers at their manufacturing facilities to make sure the end result conforms to their exacting standards.
In recent years it has been customary to produce and consume furniture as fashion items. This is not a sustainable path forward. While the joy of new, beautiful things is undeniable, consumer culture in general is detrimental to the environment.
Sustainability is built into the core concepts of Massproductions. The company’s fundamental approach to furniture production relies on intelligent, economic application of materials and rational manufacturing in volume, with minimum waste.
Massproductions’ furniture is built to last, both physically and aesthetically. Many products are made in a single material, and when a combination of materials is necessary, they are easily separable for recycling. The wood is sourced from sustainable forests and wherever possible recycled material is used. Safe glues and paints are, of course, used throughout.
Building on design
In 1999 two designers – one Swedish, one British – started working together as consultants to the furniture industry. Together, Magnus Elebäck and Chris Martin took on big league clients, and then ten years later decided to launch their own furniture company.
Their debut product was the Tio chair, which earned rave reviews, awards and well-respected clients. The commitment to quality, function and what Chris Martin calls “obvious design” won the approval of the cognoscenti, and Massproductions has built on the success with Tio to create an award-winning line of products and a network of more than a hundred retailers servicing top architects around the world.
While Chris Martin is a true design specialist, Magnus Elebäck is the main force behind the innovative strategy of building a lean, vertically integrated company, designing products in-house, partnering with carefully selected manufacturing facilities and selling to a global market.