In summary

  • Centre for Design and Timberfy create luxury bed for dogs
  • Luxury dog bed design features smart materials and tech
  • CDI designs dog bed for growing pet product sector

Swinburne’s Centre for Design Innovation (CDI) and custom furniture manufacturer Timberfy have developed a luxury bed for dogs. The first dog bed design is now in production following the completion of the project in 2019.

Custom timber furniture manufacturer, Timberfy was frustrated by the vast number of imported South-East Asian furniture products dominating the Australian furniture retail space. They engaged CDI to assist them in a product diversification program, to find new market opportunities for their business that would complement their capabilities and experience in creating Australian-made custom furniture products.

The CDI team conducted extensive research into Australian consumer market segments for Timberfy. The Centre’s designers and engineers came up with a diverse range of ideas in a short-list of product categories, before settling on the most promising idea - a timber dog and cat bed range.

Their research showed that the pet product sector in Australia is in growth and the product requirements matched Timberfy’s capabilities as a manufacturer of timber products, with the added benefit of no requirement for new investment in equipment.

CDI’s research uncovered a growing trend in the humanising and treatment of pets as members of the family. This trend was identified as a strong driving factor behind the idea for a range of premium pet supplies, supported by increased expenditure by pet owners on their pets and pet products.

The CDI team saw an opportunity to create a niche by integrating smart materials and technology into kennels and cat beds to create luxurious products. They also identified a market gap for architecturally considered designs within the house for pets.

The architecturally designed Timberfy dog bed, by Centre for Design

For Timberfy, there was minimal adjustment needed in set up time, design and construction. It was apparent that they could make a short-term investment, to get pet products to market quickly. Pet beds are also easily marketed online, and often find placement in high-end shops.

Design researchers at CDI found inspiration from high-end furniture products to translate sophisticated details to incorporate into the pet bed design, evaluating different joinery methods and a combination of different timbers and finishes.

They explored premium pet products and products that tie into the way a house is furnished, rather than looking like a generic pet product. This included dog and cat houses with storage for products and toys. They investigated ways to incorporate a charcoal filter inside a pet bed cushion to deodorise, as well as various colour options for the cushioned base and padded plywood hood.

The final design, now in production, is an American Oak dog bed with walnut highlights and integrated cushion. It has an internal cavity in the base that allows clean air flow through the cushion, with an access hatch in the bed base that allows for disposable charcoal or cedar chip packs to be added to deodorise and repel ticks.

Timberfy dog bed base with cavity and access hatch, by Centre for Design

The cushioned base is covered by a three-part padded plywood hood held in place with leather straps and wooden fasteners. The fabrics are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. The Scandinavian-style adjustable legs are a crucial element to the design. Different forms were explored to suit height, stability, manufacturability and aesthetics. The final product will be available in three sizes to suit small, medium and large pets.

Timberfy dog bed details include padded plywood, leather straps and adjustable legs, by Centre for Design