How to Design Furniture, Michael Schneider #1


Product design with the times

Many social scientists say we humans will, for coming 100 years, experience the same amount of change as what we had got through over the last 2000 years. It’s not only about technological advancement but also about our mentality. People become less interested in owning things (as shown in the rise of subscription and sharing business models). Our economic activities shrink day by day. How should we manufacturers adapt? I threw this question at one of our product designers, Michael Schneider.

Michael Schneider:

I am affirmative on subscription and sharing business models because they will enable us to live our lives with less costs and pollution. We are living in times of saturated markets, global warming, and limited resources. In such a condition, we have to make sacrifices to some degrees. Thanks to IT revolution and digitization, people will realize many business ideas more easily and consequently answer to the above mentioned problems. One of such ideas is subscription and sharing business models, I think.

A two-seater sofa with two coffee tables in front of it. They are on the gray rug.


People can learn responsibility through owning things. In that sense, subscription and sharing business models may not be a perfect solution but not a directly-opposed idea to possession as well. People will come to conduct a close pre-examination, only pay for things they really need, use them more often, and take better care of them.

In the next article, he will be sharing his ideas on products that can meet such customers’ increasing expectations.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.