Product Name: Mend
Furniture waste is a problem in urban centers across the globe. The stack of blemished chairs, abandoned on the curbside is a scene that seems near-ubiquitous to metropolitan life. Sometimes the stack of chairs is completely dilapidated, sometimes they look near-new – in either case, you might begin to think of sustainability as you walk by. It’s nice that curbside furniture is free to grab, but it’s worrying that people are so ready to discard belongings that are clearly still functional. The sustainability problem with furniture doesn’t stem from the commercial advantages of lower-quality fabrication methods alone; ‘psychological obsolescence’, a willingness to toss perfectly usable goods, seems to be widespread. Furthermore, in Hong Kong, there is no apparent affordable or convenient alternative to tossing cheap furniture out and replacing it with more cheap furniture.
Hong Kong is dotted with small fabrication and repair shops. These cottage industry shops range from full-scale carpentry workshops to metal-turning shops specializing in custom-made hardware. Cottage industry pervades the city, operating from the myriad of narrow alleyways off high streets. Thanks to the close quarters of Hong Kong, many fabrication shops have a symbiotic relationship, however, due to the small scale, it is difficult for cottage industry to market itself and grow. Mend is a service that platforms existing cottage industry, to make repair a more convenient and affordable alternative to the cycle of tossing old stuff and buying new stuff.