The 28 April 2017
By galipon dans

Children’s furniture, from design to manufacture

All children’s bedrooms have one thing in common: they include furniture designed especially for children. Before ending up in your home, this children’s furniture has taken quite a journey. You wouldn’t believe the number of stages your furniture goes through before you set it up in your little cherub’s bedroom. We’ve asked two professionals who play a key role in designing and manufacturing furniture to give us an insight into a wooden furniture manufacturer for the Galipette brand. Emmanuel Meslet (Product Designer) and Pierre-Emmanuel Berthault (Quality, Safety and Environment Manager) lead us through the journey taken by a piece of furniture for little ones, from the initial concept to production. Over to the experts!

Designing children’s furniture

Emmanuel Meslet explains how our children’s furniture is designed. We’ll let him introduce himself and tell us how a piece of child’s furniture is born.

Could you introduce yourself? What is your exact role at Galipette?

Emmanuel Meslet (E.M.): my name is Emmanuel Meslet, I’ve been a product designer for 10 years. I started out with an agency and have now been with the GAUTIER group for 3 years. Within the company, my role is to ensure products are consistent in terms of style, practicality and industry standards.

What is the overall concept of Galipette furniture?

E.M: It is furniture that is made in France. Above all, we design Galipette furniture to be functional with the newborn’s well-being in mind. We intend it to encourage bonding between the parent and child.

How do you come up with your designs for children’s furniture? What are the main stages in producing a piece of furniture?

E.M: Before the design process, we carry out market research and look at the competition. Next come studies that are carried out in conjunction with the design office. We look at various points such as trims, style and accessories. These design studies ensure the project is feasible and in line with current standards.

Who chooses which materials will be used?

E.M: In terms of materials to use for producing a piece of furniture, we often make our decision based on suggestions from the Design department. However, once a suggestion is made, the materials have to be tested and approved by the design office and then in the Testing Centre.

How do you move on from the design stage to the production stage?

Nothing is produced without collaboration with the design studio, either in the form of 3D files or sketches. It’s all about teamwork. We are fully coordinated throughout the entire project.

What specific features need to be considered when creating children’s furniture?

E.M: Safety and standards are crucial in this type of product. It’s up to us to ensure we adhere to them. The aim is to enable the customer to set up a pleasant environment for their child.

What do you enjoy most about designing children’s furniture?

E.M: I really enjoy working on children’s furniture projects, especially the fun aspect of certain products.

Manufacturing process for children’s wooden furniture

For the second key stage in the birth of a piece of child’s wooden furniture, Pierre-Emmanuel Berthault lets us in on the manufacturing secrets. Over to him to answer our questions!

Can you give us an overview of your career so far?

Pierre-Emmanuel Berthault (P.-E. B.): I’m a trained engineer and have been working at Gautier for over 25 years in several different roles within the industrial and product development fields. For the past 10 years, I’ve been in charge of the Quality, Safety and Environment department.

What is your exact role for Galipette products?

P.-E. B: A Galipette product needs to be high quality throughout its life. I’m involved right from the initial design stage, ensuring that the product meets safety standards and submitting it to our laboratory for testing. I’m also involved afterwards, throughout the production process, to ensure the raw materials are fully compliant and that the product is manufactured correctly. A quality assurance role even goes beyond this, as we can be involved in after-sales if required, providing technical assistance to the customer.

How is children’s furniture manufactured?

P.-E. B: Before moving on to the manufacturing stage, we create a technical drawing enabling us to produce prototypes. These have two purposes: to approve the aesthetic appearance and also to carry out compliance testing.

The product can then move on to the production stage. This takes place over four main phases:

  • Wood is cut to size, panels are covered and the various components are manufactured.
  • Surface treatments are applied, depending on the pieces: varnish, lacquer, silkscreen or digital printing.
  • Assembly and packaging.
  • Storage and delivery.

Galipete

Which types of roles are involved in the production stages?

P.-E. B: First and foremost, we need to bear in mind that several production-related roles come together to design and select the product as well as sourcing the raw materials required and organising production schedules.

We then enter the product manufacturing phase. This calls on several additional functions: production management, automated line controllers, production and packaging operatives, handlers, logistics officers, support services (quality, safety, methodology, programming etc).

Is the production chain fully automated or does human intervention play a key role?

P.-E. B: Human and mechanical aspects both play a role in our production chain. Our products are always the result of the two working together in perfect harmony. One the one hand, we have automated production processes that produce the various parts whilst ensuring a high level of performance and quality. On the other hand, we need people to carry out manual operations that guarantee the product has a good finish.

How do you choose which wood to use for manufacturing your furniture?

P.-E. B: In line with our environmental policy, we ensure we only use wood sourced from sustainably managed forests. We use softwood for our panels, mainly from the Landes forest in France. For the solid wood parts, we use beech because it lends itself well to cutting and finishing, as well offering good tensile strength.

Is Galipette furniture made in France?

P.-E. B: Almost all of our products are made in our factories in the Vendée region of France. Only components that are not available in France are imported from countries in the European Community.

Which aspect of producing furniture for children do you enjoy the most?

P.-E. B: I like to stick with my technical vision for producing children’s furniture. The products are very demanding in terms of safety as they are designed for little ones. This means that I need to combine all my skills to ensure the furniture is safe but with a designer feel. You can’t become a manufacturer of this kind of product overnight!

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By galipon dans