Indera factory tour, Belgium

You may have guessed by now, I’m a bit of a furniture geek. I like seeing how it’s made, and even more so if it is made responsibly. So my eyes were wide open and my camera at hand when we were taken on a tour of the Indera factory recently as part of the Limblog Design Tour.

Indera is a relatively young company, but is part of a much larger business as it is within the Mecam group, makers of some respectful but oh-so-not-my-taste of furniture that you’d typically find in a retirement home. I’m probably being a little unfair, but it doesn’t light my fire to see the mechanism of a recliner chair… shudder.

No, what I was interested in was the modern spin-off to this group, Indera, which employs the designs of internationally-renowned designers such as Benjamin Hubert, Fabiaan Van Severen and Bram Boo (whom we were also very pleased to meet on the final night), amongst others.

Indera may not yet be a household name in the UK, but it is no parochial business. It may be nestled in suburban Belgium, hidden from sight, but this is no reflection on the quality of design that comes out of the building. What struck me straight away was that the convex curved ceiling of the original building the group occupied originally was not the end to the tour. We went out the back and into a vast production facility that I have never seen before.

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I regularly see behind the scenes of furniture makers, but they typically work with suppliers in other countries, or even if they produce themselves it is unlikely to be outside the back door. With this setup, Indera brings raw material in one door and Benjamin Hubert’s Inlay sofa comes out the other end. Albeit, with the help of many, many, many skilled people.

By being out in the sticks, Indera can spread out and make sure they have the facilities for producing furniture in much larger quantities, storing materials in zones based upon the process undertaken in that building. From foam core, leather, fabric, wood, metal springs, and all manner of materials that go in to producing furniture, the efficiency of this production means that they can reduce the time for production but have no stock sitting waiting. This is every manufacturers dream situation and this unknown company has the right start to moving in to this tiny part of the furniture world.

I didn’t to focus much on their designs for this post, as I wanted to share the factory, so I leave it up to you to visit www.indera.be to view the collection and learn more about their designs. Modularity is very important to Indera, where every piece can be moved with ease, and no tools, something you rarely see in the higher end of design which favours large, static furniture. This philosophy, in my mind, ensures longevity as we move homes and can reconfigure easily allowing us to invest in expensive pieces of furniture that will work in any situation.

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Finally, before I leave, I’d like to thank Indera for showing us around their factory, and of course to the Limblog Design Tour organisers for inviting me and showing me this rare treat. I have Indera firmly on my radar now.

Daniel

Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

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