Innovation in Design

Grace Tatigian

Just because something’s always been done one way doesn’t mean that’s the only way, or the best way, to do it. There will always be innovators looking for new and better ways to solve problems and meet demands. But disrupting the market can be a big challenge; it takes a lot of support to get new ideas off the ground, particularly when they challenge the status quo. Here are three Canadian companies that are taking a new approach to woodworking and furniture design.

Transformer Table

Transformer Table is an aptly named furniture company based in Montreal. The company first launched on Kickstarter in 2016, pitching a piece of furniture that could adapt from a single-person desk to a twelve-person dining room table by expanding and adding panels. Transformer Table now also offers dining sets, benches, and coffee tables. They are also currently on Kickstarter again, this time for a couch design. The company raised 300% of their $50,000 goal within an hour of launching, proof that customers are looking for modular, expandable furniture.

The Transformer Table and benches can expand from 18” to 118”. Each is specially designed to work in any living space, regardless of size. The form and function combine modern style and forward-thinking design. If the piece is being used as a desk and none of the additional panels are in use, they only require 20” x 38” x 8” worth of storage. The coffee table was actually developed to hold the dining table’s unused panels.

All Transformer Table products are made from locally sourced hardwood harvested exclusively from FSC-certified forests. 

Quagga Designs

Quagga Designs is a furniture solution company based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, focusing on innovative bed frames. One of their main priorities is that the beds are easy and quick to assemble for customers. Their designs take less than ten minutes to put together; the No Fuss Plus® takes the least amount of time, clocking in at two minutes and twenty-two seconds.

These beds don’t look anything like the standard black metal frames that have been on the market for years and gouge holes in your walls. The Tic-Tac-Toe® bed, for example, is a simple, minimalistic bed. This wooden platform bed frame derives its strength from the slats that overlap each other, similar to a tic tac toe board. No tools are required, which means that it assembles & disassembles quickly. This platform bed features interlocking slats which rest on nine block legs.

Another unique design from Quagga is the Flex®, a wood platform bed frame with two nightstands attached. This bed is unique because it can absorb the applied weight consistently over its flexible V-shaped legs. The legs and slats are held together by a mortise and tenon joint giving it even more strength and durability.

Made from Quebec-sourced birch plywood, Quagga beds are treated with environmentally-friendly linseed oil to bring out the natural beauty of the wood grain. It also deeply nourishes the wood while providing protection that is waterproof and abrasion-resistant. The company’s goal is to create high-quality furniture with a low cost made from natural components built to last.

All of Quagga’s products have a simple, minimalist design, focusing on function and quality. 


Propellor is an independent, Vancouver-based multi-disciplinary design studio. Their work spans a broad range of disciplines, from lighting and furniture design to spatial design and sculpture. They prioritize sustainability and work to reduce their impact at every level of their practice, including their choice of materials. 

Wood is not typically a material used in lighting fixtures, but that is an integral part of many of Propellor’s light sculptures. Their Myco Hardwood LED Lighting Fixture, for example, is inspired by geometries that exist in nature. The Myco is designed as a modular branching system that can be scaled to meet the requirements of different spaces. The piece is handcrafted from black walnut, ash, Douglas fir, or white oak. 

The Meridian light is a planet-like pendant light with a strong sculptural presence. Whether hanging on its own or in a group, it makes a statement. The Meridian is made from standard birch or walnut woods and comes in 16”, 24”, 30”, 36”, and 42” diameters. Custom groupings and configurations can be designed to suit any space.


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