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Okinlab introduces itself
Architect Nikolas Feth and business entrepreneur Alessandro Quaranta launched the digitization of the furniture industry from Saarbrücken in 2015 with their intelligent design platform form.bar. Since then, the 3D real-time configurator has allowed anyone visiting their website (www.form.bar) to easily design their own costumised furniture online without prior expertise.
A complex design algorithm simulates the swarming behaviour of birds and fishes: if the designed furniture is modified at one point in the configurator, the complete piece is automatically re-configured to always become an evenly balanced unit. Once the design process is completed by the customer, the form.bar-software sends the production data to one of more than 80 cabinetmaker workshops in Germany and other European countries within close distance of the customer’s location.
Funding opportunities for start-ups
Individualized furniture made from wood, a renewable raw material, is especially suited to make optimal use of the scarce living space in cities, since the furniture can be easily adapted to narrow corridors and high ceilings. At the same time, the form.bar design adapts perfectly to each individual’s personal environment and area of movement.
Okinlab was the first small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Saarland to successfully participate in the highly competitive European business support scheme "SME-Instrument Phase 2". The SME instrument is aimed exclusively at companies with growth potential i.e. companies with a high market potential idea and a high degree of innovation, as well as business activities with a European or international orientation. The funding of approximately 2 million Euro that the company will receive from this EU Programme, will be used for a Europe-wide expansion, including the development of the necessary IT structures for this endeavour. In the next five years, N. Feth and A. Quaranta, together with their interdisciplinary team of architects, computer scientists, designers and marketing specialists, want to make form.bar Europe’s leading platform for online designed and regionally produced furniture.
SME-Instrument strengthens Okinlab’s business development
Alessandro Quaranta (38) studied business administration at the Saarland University and the Università degli Studi di Siena with a focus on business informatics as well as media and communication management. He founded an online travel agency, as well as a fashion label for men’s clothing during his time as a university student. He also worked as a lecturer for business simulations and as a consultant for start-ups.
Nikolas Feth (39) studied architecture at the Saarland University of Applied Sciences. Due to his specialisation in complex free-form constructions, 3D design and computer-controlled manufacturing, he worked for renowned architectural firms on several occasions as a student. At the same time, the graduate engineer did research on bionically inspired timber constructions and in the field of lightweight structural design and taught courses.