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Furnico helps you make your furniture live longer

IKEA | Circular Economy| UIUX

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A service promoting sustainability in Savannah by recycle used furniture between previous and future apartment residents to extend product life  


Service Design Challenge

In an effort to find innovative ways to reduce waste in the furniture industry, our team won finalist in this project working with IKEA. In keeping with IKEA's broader mission to improve the everyday lives of all people affected by their business, not just in terms of furnishings, we created a service to help people take preventative measures before waste becomes a problem.


The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is situated in Savannah, Georgia. With enrolment over 14,000 students from both the United States and various other countries, up to 17% being international students. Majority of the students live off campus, and face the challenges of managing, finding, selling their furniture. 


16 Weeks 

2021.12- 2022.04

My Role

User research with multiple  methods, insight extraction,  Take initative through entire design development cycle with emphasis on user jouney, storytelling.


Cuts furniture waste from the sources

Collect unwanted furniture

Cleans, sanitizes, and fixes the furniture

Pack them up into different set and recycle them



Photoshop, Illustrator, 


00 Research Proposal


When given the topic of circular economy, we first dived into looking truly at differences between circular and linear economy then developed new ideas for reducing furniture waste based on first round of research. Our project is based on the circular economy model, exploring more possibilities for ownership and sustainability. In view of the fact that there is a lot of waste in life, dealing with these wasteful products and letting these products participate in the circular economy is the main purpose of our project.


  • According to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, overall spring 2021 college enrollment was 16.9 million.

  • American universities have a serious waste problem. The average college student produces 640 pounds of waste annually, the majority of which accumulates during move-out.

  • A survey based on 100 waste audits, Great Forest found that 77% of what is thrown out as trash is really NOT trash at all.

  • $580 billion of households are no longer using = $4,517/household

Expert Interview

We conducted several zoom calls with 4 experts from circular economy & sustainability backgrounds.

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They gave us a lot of insights, after we did an affinitizing diagram and concluded from the interviews, here are some insights from them. The involvement and collaboration of all societal stakeholders are essential towards a circular economy. Especially in a multi-cultural society, each stakeholder needs to be considered and put on the map. We need to create a community that encourage stakeholder participation into the activities to create value.

//Initial Problem Statement

When faced with the problem of dealing with unneeded things, most interviewees think that it is a better choice to solve the problem through the community in which they are located. Students who successfully solved the problem all affirmed the role of the communitv in this process, but they did not pay attention to the circular economy when they deal with the useless household stuff. In fact this two are related, most of people are willing to solve problems through circular economy as long as we could create a trustful community for them.

How could we create a safe, high efficient (time and energy), reliable and circular community for college students, and also through that maximize the utilization of household goods?

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01 Discover
//Initial Interview

In-person & phone calls were scheduled and conducted with 20 people in total. including international students, apartment managers, and school dorm staffs. From our primary interview, Not flexible time for transaction, lack of trust, time and effort value waste, unformed community atmosphere are problems for students to deal with the second-hand household objects in the circular way.

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//Student Personas

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Graduating Student 

Current Student 

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//Multiple use-cycle based on personas

In order to better understand our stakeholders, we invited three students to join our research, who can represent the two personas we mentioned above. We used the Multiple Use-Cycle Exploration Pack, created by Dr. Anneli Selvefors and Dr. Oskar Rexfelt to help us achieve the goal in this stage.

  • How do different types of second-hand stores work? Get to know other existing relevant companies in Savannah who might be potential stakeholders.

  • How to find the easiest way to store the furniture and equipment?

  • How to deal with the transportation problem? From sellers’ house to warehouse, from the warehouse to event location?

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//Savanah Community & Persona

We did cultural probe with qualitative and quantitative questions in one of the most populous locations - Forsyth Park on Saturday morning, n = 21.

  • In order to get a broader pool of people and understand their views on Flea Market and what does it take them to come to that event.

  • To probe people’s comfort level with the second stuff & scope of transaction objectives.

  • To learn their ideal flea market experiences.

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Local Resident

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Local Shop Owner

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//Empathy with students

In order to gain a deeper insight into our main stakeholder, we organize all related data from primary research and create empathy map.

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//Service Origami

By doing a service origami with our potential stakeholders such as graduating students, arts students, and walking through each stage that involves value exchange with stakeholders, helped us identify and analyze the each stakeholders’ potential relationships. The Origami explores various attributes, including:

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  • Stakeholders (service providers, businesses, individuals, service users)

  • Physical locations

  • Relationships between stakeholders

  • Services that are offered

  • Resources and activities needed to deliver services

  • Transactions such as financial and information exchanges

  • Personal experiences of service users or customers


  • We could invite artists to participate in our event and increase the interaction between students and local residents to achieve the co-creation.

  • The website and mobile app help us organize our event better.

  • We could donate items that are left in each event to charity or environmental projects to achieve a circular economy.

  • The campaign could work with more local stores or bands to involve and benefit more stakeholders.

02 Define
//Prototype Feedback

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03 Design & Develope

The main users of the service are student buyers, graduate-to-be, students selling their wares, artists, and local residents.

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// System Before 

In our design phase, we went back to our research and background, reviewed and revised our problem, diverged our idea first, and then converged into one. In order to develop a better and completed idea, we did one more round of interviews, and we got a current recycle system map, see below:


This is the current furniture recycle system map, the ownership of furniture starts from the students of SCAD and savannah residents, once they decide to leave for another city, they need to deal with all the furniture that they own, for the pieces they are unable to get rid off at last, or can not be taken, they go to local consignment stores, thrift stores, and donation centers. Some of those pieces end up being used by other people, and others in landfill. From this system map, we found an opportunity in the starting point part, and design for preventing the furniture’s throwing away process from the very beginning  of this journey.

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// Design Concept

We wanted to build up something that could provide clean, maintained, organized furniture packages, and collects unwanted furniture to recycle them. A service could help previous resident owners to deal with their unwanted or no longer in-use furniture efficiently and quickly.
Once furniture passes our evaluation, we clean, sanitize, and fix the furniture that is collected. Then, Furnico offers different sets of furniture packages to choose from according to each unique user’s needs and room type.

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// Value Proposition 

For Previous Owners


WHO - For apartment residents who have only been staying at college town for 1- 2 years
WHY - They want to deal with it as efficiently and quickly as possible.
WHAT - Recycle furniture pick-up services
HOW - By streamlining recycling used furniture

For future owners

WHO - For apartment residents who only plan to stay here for 1- 2 years.
WHY - Wants to get a package of basic furniture once they arrive in the empty apartment room.
WHAT - Recycle, green, and clean furniture package services for people who just arrived.
HOW - By streamlining cleaning, maintenance, and organized furniture package services.

// System After

For moving outs, there will be no more worries of discharging furniture or furniture ending up in landfill. For moving ins, users are able to enjoy a furnished home on a click of package selection.

Furnico provides clean, maintenance, organized furniture packages and collects unwanted furniture to recycle them. Furnico helps previous room owners to deal with their unwanted or no longer in use furniture efficiently and quickly.

Once furniture passes our evaluation, we clean, sanitize and fix the furniture that is collected. Then, furnico offers different sets of furniture packages to choose from according to each unique user’s needs and room type.


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// Design Scenario

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// Service Blueprint

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// Furnico Business Model

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Final Video

Reflection & Takeaway

This project was designed on the larger scope of the entire service system, however if I had more time I would go deeper into user testing to gain valuable insights into the usability of the app and pop up events. With the valuable feedback gained from users I will be able to understand the issues from the users’ point of view and improve the design prototype. In addition I would want to add branding integration with the whole project

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