Nọrọ is Igbo for 'stay'.
Product Design, Furniture, Fabrication
As Seen On
Every year the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (now called DesignTO) has a call for designers to showcase some work at a grand exhibition. In 2018, the call was for mixed-use furniture. I submitted a design for it and was not picked - to be fair, it wasn't a very good one. But that process got me thinking about mixed-use furniture. People have always looked for products that can do multiple things or do things better.
At the time, I had never owned furniture and preferred to rent in all my apartments. This was mostly practical: it makes moving easier (and cheaper) when you don't have to move furniture. I had moved 5 times in the previous 5 years, so it definitely helped.
One of the problems with that, is that there is no constant place to store things such as my books. Also, some apartments I have lived in had no working space. I had also just received a record player as a gift and had no place to store it.
On going through Pinterest (my fave boards are here and here), I had an idea to combine a seat with a small shelf. It had to be quite sturdy but also easy to assemble as well as take apart whenever I had to move.
I ran through a number of ideas, how could I build this?
I eventually settled on a concept with a curvature, as a way to manage loading better. I could not decide on the right way to store the books initially, but decided to use the space under the seat for this.
To account for books or records of any size, the storage compartment also needed to be relatively open and easy to access.
As an Onshape buff, I designed Nọrọ using the software. The image below is of the original design from 2019.
One thing I added here is two variables: thickness of the material and fit.
This helps if I have to remake the design using another piece of wood different from the one I had thought about it with - I can just go to the right panel and change the variable and the whole model will regenerate immediately. Yay for parametric design.
Also, since I would be cutting with a mill, had to put in some dog bones.
I cut Nọrọ on MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) using a CNC Mill.
I still have this first version of the stool and have used it since 2019. It has moved with me across three apartments since then. A new version now holds my vinyl records.
The stool was conceived for my personal use. However, I got a lot of interest from guests over the years about the stool, and in January 2023, I decided to launch it on Kickstarter to gauge interest. The production stool is made out of Baltic Birch plywood and includes a new base plate for the bottom compartment.
The campaign was live until February 8, 2023 and raised about $20K CAD. It got a lot of interest and was featured on BlogTO, Tools & Toys, and the Onshape Blog.
To Own One
Nọrọ is now available for purchase. You can order one from my personal store.
I'm open to wholesalers who would like to distribute the stool in North America and abroad, please get in touch by sending me an email.