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M & S Sonoma folding wardrobe receives FIRA Innovation Award

MS-FIRA-innovation-award.jpgFIRA's Innovation Award has been presented to Marks & Spencer for its novel Sonoma folding wardrobe. The award was received by M & S Furniture technologist David Attwell at FIRA's annual event, held at the House of Lords last Friday.

The clever folding design includes a hidden hinge detail on the side of the wardrobe, which enables the product to be transported flat, then folded out on delivery. The Sonoma wardrobe now takes just five minutes to assemble, a reduction of some 40 minutes from the previous non-folding Sonoma design.

By folding flat, the wardrobe takes up less room during transportation and storage. With the wardrobe being easier and quicker to build less time is spent in the customer's home, reducing disruption to the consumer and increased productivity for the M & S delivery team. The product arrives ready for assembly, with doors fitted, which means little, or no adjustment, is required. The product is simply folded out and fixed in place in the location of the customer's choice on delivery.

The innovative, folding mechanism also makes disassembly and re-assembly easy for the customer, allowing the wardrobe to be easily relocated.

David Attwell, Furniture Technologist at M & S explained: "Marks and Spencer is committed to innovation and we are delighted to be recognised by FIRA for our Sonoma wardrobe and we are sure the award will raise the awareness and desirability of the Sonoma Wardrobe.

"The FIRA Innovation Award is an important milestone for us as it provides further independent validation for our technology."

Crafted predominantly from solid American oak and oak veneer, the wardrobe displays all of the characteristics of solid oak such as knots, figuring, colour variation and end-grain details. For added durability, it has dovetail joints and a protective low-sheen lacquer.

The Sonoma folding wardrobe is manufactured for M & S, using its dedicated FISP (Furniture Industry sustainability Programme) accredited manufacturer.

Phil Reynolds, Principal Technical Manager at FIRA said: "FIRA is delighted to present Marks and Spencer with the Innovation Award for the Sonoma Wardrobe, which is designed to improve the practicality of transporting and assembling the product.

"When assessing the product, the judging panel was impressed with the ease of folding the wardrobe and the simplicity of assembling the product. FIRA strives to recognise and reward truly innovative companies and products, and we congratulate Marks and Spencer on its endeavours in developing this truly innovative design."

FIRA's Innovation Award offers companies a competitive advantage through differentiation, underlining the uniqueness and usability of the product, and positioning the business at the forefront of leading edge creativity in the furniture industry. Successful products are able to use the FIRA Innovation Award logo for marketing purposes.

All items entered for the Innovation Award must be unique and applicants are required to provide full details of how their product differs from anything else on the market. Key areas on which the judges focus are: innovation, safety and how well the product performs in use.

Picture shows: M & S Furniture Technologist David Attwell (centre) receives the FIRA Innovation Award on behalf of Marks and Spencer for the Sonoma folding wardrobe, presented by Lord Hoyle, (Left) and FIRA Chief Operating Officer, Jonny Westbrooke (right).

If you would like to apply for an Innovation Award for one of your products, or would like further information about the FIRA Innovation Award, please contact:

T: 01483 777 700
E: marketing@fira.co.uk
W: www.fira.co.uk

28th October 2011




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