I was during 1997 at the University of the Industrial Arts Helsinki as a student/researcher for the department of Interior Architecture and Furniture Design. My role was to work on the overall concept an translate this into user friendly GUI and interaction designs and patterns.
From Cordis Database (http://cordis.europa.eu/search/result_en?q=efdma)
The electronic Furniture Design and Marketing Agency eDFMA is a new type of service as an elctronic trading system for furniture using Internet and WEB pages. It goes beyond the usual trading connexion of company to client put on the Web as simple Web advertising. The objective of the project is to help transfer the furniture market from a production driven system towards a consumer (and design) driven one (as partly has happened in fashion industry). The eFDMA creates a new relationship between the three main actors in the field of furniture production and consumption: - buying public (consumers at home or in shops) - designers (mainly organised in very small independent firms) and - production (majority are SMEs) This new relationship will make the system of furniture sales and production much more dynamic as it allows designers to offer the public more choice without having to produce it first. At present production is a conservative (not enhancing potential or taking risk) element in this chain of supply and demand. In short it means that orders for furniture run through an electronic Agency (eFDMA, see diagram) via computer terminals at home or in shops operated either by clients themselves or assisted by sales personnel in shops and then forwarded to production companies. This implies that the flow of information within the chain of design- production- marketing- distribution- sales in turned around to an interactive direct link between sales and design through an agency and will become: design - marketing - sales - electronic agency - production - distribution. This scheme puts us in the heart of an operation that will turn around the flow of information of a production driven system towards a consumer driven one. In this case the field of application is furniture industry, but the system can be applied to a number of other product systems. Once set up the system will operate commercially. Most of the software of the project is existing, but has to be connected and co-ordinated. The results of this operation will be: - create more variety and better information for consumers - create export sales opportunities for furniture production firms that at present have little to no possibility to develop this by themselves - start to replace traditional marketing tools such as printed catalogues that have to be reprinted every year, accepted by the conservative marketing strategies of production firms - create a more flexible mechanism that can react directly to market trends, because of the interactive character of the system