Form and function from adversity
Never touch an Allen key again thanks to Formed by Function from Ballarat’s own Form Imagination.
WHEN the pandemic struck Nathan Weyers and the crew at Ballarat-based set design and stage construction company Form Imagination were hit hard.
As theatres closed across the country the team lost work on some of the biggest touring shows to come off Broadway.
From what could have been a massive disaster, Mr Weyers created something truly meaningful – Formed by Function – a flatpack furniture company that makes highly practical, innovative and stylish pieces for your home or office.
Even better, there’s not a single Allen key in sight.
“We had 48 theatre jobs cancelled overnight,” Mr Weyers said. “We’ve got lots of tools and carpenters, joiners and craftspeople, so we thought about how we could keep them employed.
“The same way you build sets is the same way we’re building this furniture.”
Through all the struggles of 2020, Mr Weyers and Form Imagination have been able to add jobs to the local economy, currently employing about 15 full time workers.
“It’s been awesome, really good,” he said. “It’s unbelievable to think the whole industry is still not moving but we’ve managed to employ more locals.”
Presently, Formed by Function creates a range of desks and laptop stands that are modern, stylish, functional and go together quickly and simply, all without the need for tools.
The idea to create flatpack furniture came from experiences early in COVID-lockdown.
“It started with laptop stands,” Mr Weyers said. “My sister is a teacher, and our staff were all moving to work from home.
“Then one night I thought ‘we should do a desk, why not?’ and then it took off.”
Handmade at Form Imagination’s Wendouree workshop, their products use 18-millimetre FSC certified birchwood ply for strength and long-lasting durability, which is thicker than other desktops on the market.
Each piece has been designed by Mr Weyers and uses a self-supporting slot system that’s utilised on stages around the world.
“This is how we build theatre sets to bump in with no tools,” he said. “As soon as you add tools into a theatre scenario it adds hours and hours, when you’re trying to save on time and cost.
“You don’t require any tools to put the furniture together, so that means anyone working from home, with no tools or any sort of experience, should be able to put together any of the items.”
Not to forget where Formed by Function has come from, and the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the performing arts sector, the company is donating a percentage of every order to the performing arts industry.
“When we first launched all of our followers on Facebook and Instagram are our colleagues in the arts and they all bought it, and I was like ‘what are you doing? None of you have work’,” Mr Weyers said.
“I had to give something back to an industry that’s supporting us. If they didn’t buy the first 300 pieces, would we have got off the ground?”
For more information, or to check out their full range of easy to assemble furniture go to formedbyfunction.com.