Gerard Crofts set up The Sofa Factory in 1993 and it had developed into one of the most recognisable furniture brands in Ireland by the mid-2000s. The company had designed and patented a reclining mechanism allowing a sofa to be converted quickly into a multi-position chaise or bed, for which they received positive feedback from the HSE and the NHS.
This project looked at the overall design of a sofa bed that could be used in hospitals and healthcare environments. The sofa had to fold to a bed whilst maintaining a minimal footprint and considering issues from ease-of-use to infection control. Siesta Sofa required product development expertise to turn the concept into a real product.
years in business
hospitals in Ireland & UK
seconds to convert
The Siesta Sofas & CREST partnership
The CREST Gateway, through a partnership with CreateLAB, helped develop the prototype into a product that could be manufactured in volume, with consistency. It also helped Siesta Sofas make improvements, such as ease-of-use, so that the mechanism now converts from sofa to bed in just 10 seconds. The initial reaction to the improved product has been excellent, with many units placed in NHS hospitals in the UK. A second innovation voucher helped to develop the product and range further.
The sofabed is now in full production and has been sold to approximately 50 hospitals in Ireland and the UK. The company has won several large contracts in Ireland and the UK. The CREST Gateway, in collaboration with the School of Creative Arts, continues to work with the company in order to develop a larger research area looking at healthcare furniture.
“We are excited because we believe we have a unique product with worldwide appeal. We are very grateful to the team at TU Dublin who worked with us to research and hone our product development. We were also delighted to be awarded an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher to help with research costs.”
Gerard Crofts – Managing Director, Siesta Sofas
The Technology Gateway Network delivers innovation expertise to industry across Ireland. It is run by Enterprise Ireland in partnership with the Institutes of Technology.
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