John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Snap together a bookcase, then take it apart and fashion a room divider or sofa.
Are you the type of restless soul who needs to constantly rearrange everything around you? Then perhaps you’d enjoy PlayWood, a modular Italian furniture system for quickly assembling and disassembling desks, shelves, and many other pieces of vaguely toy-looking furniture.
The key to PlayWood is its hard-plastic connectors, available in a variety of angles and colors. Using nothing but an Allen wrench, you use them to snap together boards into whatever furniture you require that day. Freestyling a design is fine, but PlayWood’s also provided a number of downloadable plans for chairs, bookcases, and even an office divider and tree planter. When you get tired of the furniture, unsnap the connectors and assemble something completely new.
Here’s more about the system from PlayWood, which was cofounded by the northern Italian designer Stefano Guerrieri:
Simply combine connectors and boards together. Stay [focused] on the design. You can test your project by making basic prototypes and saving time. You can improve the design of your furniture: add a piece or simply try out different configurations….
The one drawback to PlayWood is you must provide the boards yourself, though some might see that as an opportunity for further customization. Get fancy with some stained pine or birdseye maple or, as the company suggests, “cut the board with a CNC machine that let you craft curves and radii.”
Six-pack of furniture connectors, €15 ($17) to €20 ($22) plus shipping at PlayWood.
H/t Yanko Design