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Industry & Trends

Celebrity Startup Uses 3D Printed Wood for Workplace Pods

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April 19, 2022 | Bill Esler

Miami, FL—OpenSeed, a business aimed at building individual meditation pods for the workplace, partnered with two U.S. celebrities—best-selling health and wellness author Dr. Deepak Chopra and trending designer Yves Behar, CEO and founder of San Francisco-based fuseproject studio. The company provides meditation pods intended to alleviate employee stress.

The wood-framed Iris pod features felt walls sandwiched between precision-printed 3D wood frames produced on a Forust RAM 336 digital printer.

The newly designed pod, called Iris, is made of a sturdy wood fiber-based frame output on the RAM 336 3D printer by Burlington, MA-based Forust, a spin-off launched last year by Desktop Metal which pioneered 3D printing for mass production of solid metal parts.

3D printing—also known as additive manufacturing—has gained acceptance in the wood manufacturing industry. Wurth Additive Group, a sister firm of IWF exhibitor Wurth Baer Supply (IWF Booth B6553), sells Markforged and other 3D metal printers to many major furniture makers for producing prototype fasteners and components, and as a means of supply chain fulfillment for durable screws, nuts, bolts, and small fixtures for furniture and cabinets. 

Forust RAM 336 3D print fabricates wood components from sawdust and bio-based resins.

OpenSeed says its Iris is now available for pre-order reservations. Designed by Yves Behar and fuseproject, the Iris pod features guided meditation content by Deepak Chopra and others, as well as an air purification system and electronics. A predecessor model, the Lotus, is produced by two Miami, FL-based firms, McKenzie and Made in Miami, with a lead time of six to eight weeks. The Iris is manufactured by Forust using its 3D printing technology from reclaimed sawdust, with a lead time of four to six weeks.

Behar is the product designer behind numerous award-winning products for Herman Miller (now MillerKnoll), Samsung, L’Oreal, and others. He has also designed consumer wood products for Forust.

“The Iris design is assembled on-site and made with sustainably sourced materials and recycled textiles,” says Behar. “A touch screen provides meditation options, and the successful integration of digital with the physical gives the mind and body the rest it needs to heal. Day-to-day stress is unavoidable, but by being present and more aware of our feelings, we might also be able to achieve higher levels of emotional intelligence”

The Iris will retail at $16,000 plus a monthly subscription when it launches Q1 2023, with a discount available for those that reserve a pod ahead of time.

Mental health issues have cost individuals and companies billions of dollars in medical bills, lost productivity, and wellbeing. Although approaches exist for employee wellbeing (e.g., corporate retreats, wellness apps, and in-house meditation facilitators), most workplaces don’t offer spaces conducive for meditation. According to a research report by JLL, a world leader in real estate services, only 17 percent of workers have access to relaxation spaces.

OpenSeed aims at developing hardware, software, and a content platform that powers a network of pods designed for meditation and wellness experiences.

“We have a solution that was born at the intersection of industrial design, sound, music, technology, and ancient wisdom,” says Jonathan Marcoschamer, OpenSeed founder and CEO. It provides a conducive space to learn and practice meditation, even in busy, high-stress environments like the workplace and hospitals.”

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