US20070145864A1 - Modular furniture system - Google Patents

Modular furniture system Download PDF

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US20070145864A1
US20070145864A1 US11/318,152 US31815205A US2007145864A1 US 20070145864 A1 US20070145864 A1 US 20070145864A1 US 31815205 A US31815205 A US 31815205A US 2007145864 A1 US2007145864 A1 US 2007145864A1
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module
modules
furniture system
modular furniture
engaging portions
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US11/318,152
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Peter Freedman
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Peter Freedman
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B87/00Sectional furniture, i.e. combinations of complete furniture units, e.g. assemblies of furniture units of the same kind such as linkable cabinets, tables, racks or shelf units
    • A47B87/007Linkable independent elements with the same or similar cross-section
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B87/00Sectional furniture, i.e. combinations of complete furniture units, e.g. assemblies of furniture units of the same kind such as linkable cabinets, tables, racks or shelf units
    • A47B87/02Sectional furniture, i.e. combinations of complete furniture units, e.g. assemblies of furniture units of the same kind such as linkable cabinets, tables, racks or shelf units stackable ; stackable and linkable
    • A47B87/0284Cabinet systems consisting of stacked-and-linked uniform casings, each being a cabinet or drawer-holder, e.g. lockers, mail/file boxing systems
    • A47B87/0292Cabinet systems consisting of stacked-and-linked uniform casings, each being a cabinet or drawer-holder, e.g. lockers, mail/file boxing systems each casing having a cross-section with a closed periphery

Abstract

A modular furniture system including modules and frames. Each module includes an upper face including a plurality of upper engaging portions, a lower face including a plurality of complementary lower engaging portions, and four sides. Frames are provided with a regular cross-sectional dimension. The dimensions of the upper and lower faces of the modules and the arrangement of the engaging portions are such that when two modules are adjacently disposed with frames mounted on the adjacent sides thereof, the distance between any two adjacent engaging portions on the same horizontal plane is constant no matter whether the adjacent engaging portions are on the same module or different modules. Sleeves with drawers corresponding to modules of a given size are also provided.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • Generally speaking, a modular furniture system provides a number of basic furniture modules that can be assembled by a user to obtain a variety of furniture products. Depending on the modules available, the furniture products can vary in terms of size, utility, design, and appearance.
  • Typically, each module of a modular furniture system is adapted for mounting on top of one or more other modules. In U.S. Pat. No. 6,877,824, for example, a set of modules is disclosed including a six-walled support module, a five-walled drawer module, and a five-walled cabinet module. By assembling a number of such modules with adapters such as bases and table-tops, a furniture product such as a desk or dresser can be constructed.
  • While the system described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,877,824 can be adapted to provide a number of furniture products, the level of customization is limited by the fact that each module is limited to a single configuration. For example, a support module is fixed by its design for use as a support, while a drawer module is fixed by its design for use as a drawer. Furthermore, while lateral covers may be employed to alter the exterior appearance of a furniture product constructed from the described modules, the proportions of the covers available limit the possible configurations in which they may be employed. Finally, if a user wishes to modify a furniture product constructed from such modules, for example by replacing a drawer module with a cabinet module, it is necessary to disassemble the furniture product, discard the drawer module, and replace it with a cabinet module. This is inconvenient and costly.
  • Accordingly, there is a need for a system of modular furniture which provides a higher degree of customization both in terms of design and appearance. Further, there is a need for a system of modular furniture in which a furniture product can be conveniently and inexpensively modified even after assembly.
  • SUMMARY
  • Fundamentally, the modules of the modular furniture system of the present invention comprise an upper face including a plurality upper engaging portions and a lower face including a corresponding number of complementary lower engaging portions, such that a plurality of modules may be stacked upon and interlocked with each other in any desired relative position to produce a variety of furniture structures of different shapes and sizes.
  • In preferred embodiments of the present invention, the modules are rectangular parallelepipeds comprising the upper face, lower face, and four sides. The modules are preferably provided in various regular sizes according to the number of upper and lower engaging portions and the height of the module. The upper and lower engaging portions are preferably arranged in corresponding horizontal grids, where the upper engaging portions are protrusions and the lower engaging portions are complementary recesses.
  • The modules are preferably hollow with open sidewalls. Furthermore, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, at least one first mounting portion is provided on each of the sides of the modules, preferably on lateral surfaces of the upper and lower faces. The upper and lower first mounting portions are preferably disposed corresponding to the upper and lower engaging portions.
  • The modular furniture system of the present invention also comprises frames provided for mounting on corresponding sides of the modules. The frames are provided with a regular cross-sectional dimension and preferably comprise a plurality of second mounting portions complementary to the first mounting portions of the respective corresponding side. Panels, sliding doors, cabinet doors, or other furniture elements may be installed in the frames.
  • In a most preferred embodiment of the present invention, the dimensions of the upper and lower faces of the modules and the arrangement of the engaging portions on said faces are such that when two modules are adjacently disposed with frames mounted on the adjacent sides thereof, the distance between any two adjacent engaging portions on the same horizontal plane is constant no matter whether the adjacent engaging portions are on the same module or different modules. This is accomplished by taking into account the cross-sectional dimension of the frames to maintain the regular distances between adjacent engaging portions. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the distance (a) between adjacent engaging portions in the same horizontal plane of a module is equal to 2 (b+f), where (b) represents the distance between a peripherally disposed engaging portion and a nearest side of the module and (f) represents a cross-sectional dimension of the frame.
  • Similarly, the dimensions of the upper and lower faces of the modules and the arrangement of the first mounting portions on the sides thereof are such that when two modules are adjacently disposed with frames mounted on the adjacent sides thereof, the distance between any two adjacent first mounting portions on the same horizontal and vertical planes is constant no matter whether the adjacent first mounting portions are on the same module or different modules. In a preferred embodiment, the distance (c) between adjacent first mounting portions in the same horizontal and vertical plane of a module is equal to 2 (d+f), where (d) represents the distance between a peripherally disposed first mounting portion and the nearest normal side of the module and (f) represents a cross-sectional dimension of the frame.
  • Preferably, the horizontal dimensions of the modules of the present invention, including the cross-sectional dimension of frames installed on each side thereof, are multiples of a base horizontal dimension corresponding to the shortest side of smallest module. Furthermore, the vertical dimensions of the modules of the present invention are preferably multiples of a base vertical dimension, where the base vertical dimension preferably equals the base horizontal dimension.
  • The modular furniture system of the present invention preferably also includes sleeves receivable into the hollow interior of a module through one of the open sidewalls. Each sleeve comprises a flange corresponding to a corresponding side of a module and third mounting portions complementary to the first mounting portions of the corresponding side. A hollow body is fixed to the flange and proportioned to be received through the open sidewall of the corresponding side. The sleeve preferably includes a drawer slidably received in the hollow body, although other furniture elements may be installed in the sleeves.
  • The modular furniture system of the present invention may also include base units and top units. Base units are provided to support a furniture product and preferably include a plurality of upper engaging portions arranged in a grid to support one or more modules. Top units may comprise flat surfaces or decorative elements and include a plurality of lower engaging portions arranged in a grid to be received on top of one or more modules.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, where:
  • FIG. 1A is a top plan view of a one-by-two-by-one module of an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 1B is a bottom plan view of a the module shown in FIG. 1A;
  • FIG. 1C is a perspective view of the module shown in FIG. 1A;
  • FIG. 1D is a bottom perspective view of the module shown in FIG. 1A;
  • FIG. 2A is a top plan view of a two-by-two-by-one module of an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2B is a bottom plan view of a the module shown in FIG. 2A;
  • FIG. 2C is a perspective view of the module shown in FIG. 2A;
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a two-by-one frame including a sliding door of an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a one-by-one frame and a panel of an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a sleeve including a drawer of an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of six modules mounted together on a base;
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the six modules shown in FIG. 6 with sleeves, frames with panels and doors, and top units mounted thereon; and
  • FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a module assembled with a sleeve, drawer, frame, and panel.
  • DESCRIPTION
  • FIGS. 1A-1D show an exemplary one-by-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module 100 of an embodiment of the present invention. As illustrated in the figures, module 100 is a rectangular parallelepiped structure of hollow construction including an upper face 115 provided with two upper engaging portions 120, a lower face 135 provided with two lower engaging portions 140, and vertical supports 150 defining two opposing one-by-one (X-Z) sides 180 having open sidewalls and two opposing two-by-one (Y-Z) sides 190 having open sidewalls.
  • As shown in FIG. 1A and 1C, the upper face 115 of module 100 comprises two oppositely disposed upper sidebars 110 and two oppositely disposed sidebars 111. Furthermore, two upper engaging portions 120 are provided on the upper face 115 separated by distance (a). In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, upper engaging portions 120 are substantially square shaped protrusions protruding above the uppermost level of the sidebars 110 and 111, as shown in FIG. 1C. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the upper engaging portions may be attached to upper face 115 or integrally formed in upper face 115.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 1B and 1D, the lower face 135 of module 100 comprises two oppositely disposed lower sidebars 130 and two oppositely disposed lower sidebars 131. Two lower engaging portions 140 corresponding to the upper engaging portions 120 are also provided. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1B, lower engaging portions are substantially square shaped recesses formed by portions of the lower sidebars 130, 131 and two inner bars 132, where the lower faces of inner bars 132 are level with the lower faces of the lower sidebars 130, 131. Lower engaging portions 140 are also separated by distance (a). Those of skill in the art will appreciate that a single inner bar may be employed in place of the two inner bars 132, or that the lower engaging portions may be integrally formed recesses in lower face 135.
  • The upper and lower engaging portions are complementary and arranged in corresponding one-by-two horizontal grids. Thus, lower engaging portions 140 are proportioned to receive upper engaging portions 120 such that a first module 100 may be securely stacked on top of a second module 100, with the protruding upper engaging portions 120 of the second module received in recessed lower engaging portions such that the upper sidebars 110, 111 of the second module 100 are substantially flush with the lower side bars 130, 131 of the first module 100. In other embodiments of the invention, the upper engaging portions may be recessed while the lower engaging portions may be protruding. In yet other embodiments, the upper and lower engaging portions may each include both protruding and recessed elements.
  • In module 100, the arrangement of the upper and lower engaging portions relative to the dimensions of the upper and lower faces is offset to accommodate the disposition of a frame on each side of the module while maintaining regular distances between the engaging portions of adjacently disposed modules. Namely, distance (a) between adjacent upper and lower engaging portions is greater than twice the distance (b) between peripherally disposed engaging portions and the nearest side of the module, respectively, to accommodate for the cross-sectional dimension of the frames mounted on the modules. This feature will be explained in further detail below.
  • In a preferred embodiment, a first locking portion 125 is provided on each of the upper engaging portions 120, while a second locking portion 145 is provided in each recessed lower engaging portion 140 complementary to the first locking portions 125. The locking portions may be screw holes. Fasteners such as screws (not shown) may be employed to securely fasten together the upper and lower engaging portions of stacked modules to add stability to a final structure formed by a plurality of modules. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that other means of locking an upper engaging portion with a lower engaging portion may be employed in place of screws.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1C and 1D, the sides of the modules are each provided with one or more first mounting portions. In the illustrated module with open sidewalls, the first mounting portions are provided on lateral surfaces of each of the upper and lower faces. Namely, in the one-by-two-by-one module 100 shown in FIG. 1C, the upper sidebars 110 are each provided with two upper first mounting portions 118, the upper sidebars 111 are each provided with one upper first mounting portion 118, the lower sidebars 130 are each provided with two lower first mounting portions 138, and the lower sidebars 131 are each provided with one lower first mounting portion 138. In a preferred embodiment, the upper and lower first mounting portions are disposed corresponding to the upper and lower engaging portions. In other words, a side of the module with one peripherally disposed engaging portion, one first upper mounting portion and one first lower mounting portions are provided, while on a side of the module with two peripherally disposed engaging portions, two first upper mounting portions and two first lower mounting portions are provided. In a preferred embodiment, the first mounting portions 118 and 138 comprise holes.
  • In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1A-1D, the arrangement of the first mounting portions is also offset to accommodate for the disposition of a frame on each side of the module. Namely, the distance (c) between adjacent first mounting portions 118 or 138 is greater than twice the distance (d) between a peripherally disposed first mounting portion and the nearest normal side of the module to accommodate for the cross-sectional dimension of the frames mounted on the modules. This feature will be explained in further detail below.
  • FIGS. 2A-2C show an exemplary two-by-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module 200 of one embodiment of the present invention. Module 200 is similar construction to module 100 with the exception of features due to the difference in dimension. Namely, as illustrated in the figures, module 200 is a rectangular parallelepiped structure of hollow construction including an upper face 215 provided with four upper engaging portions 220, a lower face 235 provided with four lower engaging portions 240, and four vertical supports 250 defining opposing two-by-one (X-Z) sides 280 having open sidewalls and opposing two-by-one (Y-Z) sides 290 having open sidewalls.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 2A and 2C, the upper face 215 comprises two oppositely disposed upper sidebars 210 and two oppositely disposed sidebars 211. Furthermore, four upper engaging portions 220 are provided on the upper face 215 separated by distance (a). Upper engaging portions 220 correspond in dimension to upper engaging portions 120 and are preferably substantially square shaped protrusions protruding above the uppermost level of the sidebars 210 and 211, as shown in FIG. 2C. In addition, a support element 216 may be provided between the upper engaging portions 220, where the upper face of the support element is preferably level with the upper faces of sidebars 210, 211. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the upper engaging portions may be separately attached to upper face 215 or integrally formed in upper face 215.
  • As illustrated in FIGS. 2B and 2C, the bottom of module 200 comprises two oppositely disposed lower sidebars 230 and two oppositely disposed lower sidebars 231. Four lower engaging portions 240 corresponding to the upper engaging portions 220 are also provided. Lower engaging portions 240 correspond in dimension to lower engaging portions 140 and are substantially square shaped recesses formed by portions of the lower sidebars 230, 231 and inner bars 232. The lower faces of inner bars 232 are preferably level with the lower faces of the lower sidebars 230, 231. Lower engaging portions 240 are also separated distance (a). Those of skill in the art will appreciate that a single cross-shaped inner bar may be employed in place of the four inner bars 232, or that the lower engaging portions may be integrally formed recesses in lower face 235.
  • The upper and lower engaging portions are complementary and arranged in corresponding two-by-two horizontal grids. Thus, the lower engaging portions 240 are proportioned to receive upper engaging portions 220 such that a first module 200 may be securely stacked on top of a second module 200, with the protruding upper engaging portions 220 of the second module received in recessed lower engaging portions such that the upper sidebars 210, 211 of the second module 200 are substantially flush with the lower side bars 230, 231 of the second module 200. In other embodiments of the invention, the upper engaging portions may be recessed while the lower engaging portions may be protruding. In yet other embodiments, the upper and lower engaging portions may each include both protruding and recessed elements.
  • As in module 100, the arrangement of the upper and lower engaging portions in module 200 relative to the dimensions of the upper and lower faces is offset to accommodate for the disposition of a frame on each side of the module. Namely, distance (a) between adjacent upper and lower engaging portions is greater than twice the distance (b) between the engaging portions and the nearest sides of the module, to accommodate for the cross-sectional dimension of the frames to be mounted on each side.
  • As in module 100, a first locking portion 225 may be provided on each the upper engaging portions 220, while a second locking portions 245 may be provided in each recessed lower engaging portion 240 complementary to the first locking portions 225.
  • As further shown in FIG. 2C, the sides of the module are provided with two first mounting portions. Namely, the lateral surfaces of upper sidebars 210 and 211 are each provided with two upper first mounting portions 218, while the lower sidebars 230 and 231 are each provided with two lower first mounting portions 238. As shown in the figure, the upper and lower first mounting portions are regularly disposed in a corresponding fashion. In a preferred embodiment, the first mounting portions 218 and 238 comprise holes.
  • As in module 100, the arrangement of the first mounting portions is also offset to accommodate for the disposition of a frame on each side of the module. Namely, the distance between the first mounting portions 218 is greater than twice the distance between a peripherally disposed first mounting portion and the normal side of the module. Namely, the distance (c) between adjacent first mounting portions 218 or 238 is greater than twice the distance (d) between a peripherally disposed first mounting portion and the nearest normal side of the module to accommodate for the cross-sectional dimension of the frames mounted on the modules.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a two-by-one (X-Z) frame 300 of an embodiment of the present invention having a cross-sectional dimension (f). Frame 300 comprises an upper crossbar 310, a lower crossbar 330, and two vertical bars 350 joined to form a rectangular frame. Upper crossbar 310 and lower crossbar 330 are each provided with two second mounting portions. Namely, the upper crossbar 310 is provided with two upper second mounting portions 318, while the lower crossbar 330 is provided with two lower second mounting portions 338. Frame 300 is proportioned to correspond with the side of a module of the present invention having the same two-by-one dimensions, for example side 190 of module 100 or sides 280, 290 of module 200. As shown in the figure, the upper and lower second mounting portions are arranged complementary to the first mounting portions of the corresponding side. Thus, frame 300 is suitable for mounting on the side 190 of module 100 or any side of module 200. In a preferred embodiment, the second mounting portions 318 and 338 comprise holes. As shown in FIG. 8, a frame can thus be mounted to the sides of module using fasteners such as screws 800. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that other means of fastening may be employed in place of screws.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a one-by-one (X-Z) frame 400 with upper crossbar 410, lower crossbar 430, two vertical bars 450, upper second mounting portion 418 and lower second mounting portion 438. Frame 400 is proportioned to correspond with the side of a module of the present invention having the same one-by-one dimensions, for example side 180 of module 100. As shown in the figure, the upper and lower second mounting portions are arranged to complement the first mounting portions of the corresponding side. Thus, frame 400 is suitable for mounting on the side 180 of module 100.
  • It is contemplated that the frames of the present invention may be provided with useful or decorative furniture elements, such as sliding doors, cabinet doors, panels, and decorative panels. The frame 300 shown in FIG. 3 is provided with a sliding door 380, while the frame 400 shown in FIG. 4 is provided with a one-by-one panel 480. In the case of sliding or cabinet doors, the furniture elements are preferably provided preinstalled on the frame. In the case of frames with panels, the frame is preferably adapted to receive any panel of the corresponding dimension in an interchangeable manner. For example, a frame may be provided with recesses or other engaging elements to receive a panel of corresponding dimension. However, preassembled frames including permanently fixed panels or frames with integrated panels are also contemplated.
  • FIGS. 5 and 8 illustrate an exemplary sleeve 500 of an embodiment of the present invention, including a drawer, suitable for mounting in two-by-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module 200.
  • Sleeve 500 comprises a flange including upper crossbar 510, lower crossbar 530, and two vertical bars 550. In preferred embodiments, the cross-sectional dimension of the flange is substantially equal to the cross-sectional dimension of a frame of the modular furniture system. Furthermore, the dimensions of the flange preferably correspond to the dimensions of a side of a module of the present invention.
  • As shown in the figures, upper crossbar 510 and lower crossbar 530 are each provided with third mounting portions. Namely, the upper crossbar 510 is provided with two upper third mounting portions 518, while the lower crossbar 530 is provided with two lower third mounting portions 538. As shown in FIG. 8, the third mounting portions of sleeve 500 are arranged to complement the first mounting portions of module 200. In a preferred embodiment, the third mounting portions 518 and 538 comprise holes. A sleeve can thus be mounted to the sides of a module using fasteners such as screws. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that other means of fastening may be employed in place of screws.
  • Sleeve 500 further comprises a hollow body 560 proportioned to be received into the hollow interior of a module of corresponding dimension. As shown in FIGS. 2C, 5 and 8, the hollow body 560 is proportioned to be received through the open sidewall of either side 280 or 290 and occupy the interior of module 200.
  • In the sleeve 500 shown in FIGS. 5 and 8, a drawer 570 is provided. Drawer 570 includes a front wall 580, which may be provided with a knob 588 and a receiving space 585 for receiving decorative panels. In a preferred embodiment, drawer 570 is mounted in hollow body 560 by a first guide 565 mounted on the inside of the hollow body and a second guide 575 mounted on the drawer 570 so as to allow the drawer to slide into and out of the hollow body 560.
  • In preferred embodiments of the present invention, the sleeve is provided with a drawer pre-installed, while decorative panels may be disposed in receiving spaces on the front wall of the drawer according to the desire of the user. However, the sleeve may also be provided in a disassembled state. It is also contemplated that the front walls may be provided in a finished state, or that decorative panels may be preinstalled in the receiving spaces.
  • It is contemplated that other furniture elements may be provided in place of the drawer. For example, a coat hanger and a door may be provided in a sleeve intended for disposition in a module with sufficient vertical dimension to hang a coat.
  • As shown in FIG. 8, sleeve 500 is mounted on a first side of module 200 with screws 800. Furthermore, frame 300 is mounted on a second side of module 200 with a panel 381 received therein. The frame is likewise mounted to the module with screws 800.
  • In the modular furniture system of the present invention, a module may be stacked directly on top of another module, or stacked straddling two or more other modules. This is accomplished by arranging the upper and lower engaging portions such that the distance between any two adjacent engaging portions on the same horizontal plane is constant no matter whether the adjacent engaging portion is part of the same module or an adjacently disposed module when taking into account the space required by frames mounted on sides of the modules. Furthermore, the upper and lower first mounting portions are preferably arranged such that the distance between any two adjacent first mounting portions on the same horizontal and vertical plane is the same whether the adjacent first mounting portion is part of the same module or an adjacently disposed module when taking into account the space required by frames mounted on sides of the modules.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the frames are provided with a regular cross-sectional dimension. The dimensions of the component parts of the modular furniture system of the present invention are preferably proportioned such that the when a number of modules are assembled, the upper and lower engaging portions compose regularly spaced corresponding grids on the horizontal plane. Such spacing allows for modules of various dimensions to be stacked upon one another without limitation.
  • For example, in module 100, the distance (a) between engaging portions 120 is equal to 2 (b+f), where (b) represents the distance between the engaging portions 120 and the nearest side of the module and (f) represents the cross-sectional dimension of a frame. Similarly, the distance (c) between adjacent second mounting portions 118 of module 100 in the same horizontal and vertical plane is equal to 2 (d+f), where (d) represents the distance between first mounting portions 118 and the nearest normal side of the module and (f) represents the cross-sectional dimension of the frame. It is understood that distance (b) is calculated for peripherally disposed engaging portions, namely those disposed adjacent to the side of the module, while distance (d) is calculated for peripherally disposed mounting portions, namely those disposed adjacent to a normal side of the module. It is further understood that such calculations represent dimensions of articles produced within manufacturing and assembly tolerances.
  • Thus, as shown in FIG. 6, a distance (g) equal to double the cross-sectional dimension (f) of a frame is left between adjacently disposed modules. As a result, upper engaging portions 631 and 101 provided on adjacently disposed modules 630 and 100C are spaced apart by the same distance as upper engaging portions on the same module. Therefore, as shown in FIG. 6, module 100B can be disposed straddling modules 630 and 100C. In addition, the regular spacing of first mounting portions across adjacently disposed modules allow the disposition of frame units straddling two or more modules having a common side in the same vertical plane.
  • In the furniture system of the present invention, the horizontal dimensions of each module, including the cross-sectional dimension of the frames installed on each side, are preferably multiples of a base horizontal dimension corresponding to the shortest side of the smallest module. Thus, a one-by-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module with frames mounted on each side would be half the size along the X-axis of a two-by-two-by-two (X-Y-Z) module with frames mounted on each side. The vertical dimensions of each module are preferably multiples of a base vertical dimension, where the base vertical dimension and the base horizontal dimension are preferably the same. In this embodiment, the height of a two-by-two-by-two (X-Y-Z) module would be twice that of a one-by-one-by-one (X-Y-Z) module, and both modules would be cubic.
  • As noted previously, modules of any other regular dimensions are contemplated. By maintaining regular spacing of the engaging portions of the modules taking into account the cross-sectional dimension of the frames to be mounted to the sides of each module, the furniture system of the present invention provides for modules that can be stacked upon and engaged with each other in any desired relative position to produce a variety of furniture structures that may be customized by adding frames, sleeves, and other furniture elements. For example, as shown in FIG. 6, a four-by-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module 620 is disposed on a four-by-two (X-Y) base. A two-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module 200 and a two-by-two-by-two (X-Y-Z) module 630 are disposed on module 620. A one-by-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module 100C is disposed on module 200 and a one-by-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module 100A is disposed on module 630. A one-by-two-by-one (X-Y-Z) module 100B is disposed straddling modules 100C and 630.
  • In the figure, module 620 comprises eight upper engaging portions (not shown) arranged in a four-by-two grid and eight lower engaging portions (not shown) arranged in a corresponding four-by-two grid, while module 630 comprises four upper engaging portions (not shown) arranged in a two-by-two grid and four lower engaging portions (not shown) arranged in a corresponding two-by-two grid. The height (Z) of module 630 is twice that of modules 100A-C, 200, and 620.
  • FIG. 7 shows a one-by-one (X-Z) frame 400A provided with a decorative panel mounted on a corresponding side of module 100B. Two-by-one (X-Z) frames 300 and 400B are provided with a sliding door and panel, respectively, and mounted on corresponding sides of modules 100B and 100C. Two-by-two (X-Z) frame 400C is provided with a panel and is mounted straddling the two-by-one side of module 200 and the two-by-one side of module 620. It is contemplated that frames may be provided in any regular dimensions corresponding to the side of a module. In addition, in embodiments of the invention, frames with dimensions greater than those of the side of a module may also be provided for the purpose of mounting across multiple modules.
  • FIG. 7 further shows a plurality of sleeves and drawers 500, 500A, 500B, and 500C, the sleeves and drawers corresponding in size to and received in modules 200, 620, 630 and 100C, respectively. Furthermore, FIGS. 6 and 7 show a base 610. Base 610 is provided with eight upper engaging portions (not shown) arranged in a four-by-two grid, such that module 620 may be received thereupon. Planar top 710, and decorative tops 720, 730, 740 are provided with lower engaging portions such that they may be disposed on top of modules of corresponding dimension or straddled across two or more modules.
  • In the modular furniture system of the present invention, the weight of a module is supported by other modules. As none of the fasteners are load bearing, the stability and durability of a final furniture structure is increased. In addition, the modules, frames, sleeves and additional furniture elements such as panels, doors and drawers are easily rearranged, replaced, or re-oriented according to the desire of the user.
  • The elements of the modular furniture system of the present invention may constructed of wood, wood product, paper product, plastic, metal, or any other suitable material that provides the required structural integrity. One of skill in the art will appreciate that composites of different materials may also be used in the construction thereof.
  • While the invention has been described by way of example and in terms of the preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. To the contrary, it is intended to cover various modifications and similar arrangements as would be apparent to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the scope of the appended claims should be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and similar arrangements.

Claims (23)

1. A modular furniture system comprising:
a plurality of rectangular parallelepiped modules, each module comprising an upper face including at least one upper engaging portion, a lower face comprising at least one complementary lower engaging portion, and four sides, whereby the upper engaging portions of a first module interlock with the lower engaging portions of a second module when the second module is stacked upon the first module; and
a plurality of frames having a regular cross-sectional dimension, the frames mountable on the sides of the modules;
wherein the distance between adjacent engaging portions of the first module is equal to the distance between adjacent engaging portions of the first module and the second module in a horizontal plane when the first and second modules are adjacently disposed with frames mounted on the adjacent sides thereof.
2. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the upper engaging portions are protrusions and the lower engaging portions are complementary recesses.
3. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 2, wherein the upper and lower engaging portions of each module are arranged in corresponding grids.
4. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 1, further comprising at least one first mounting portion disposed on each side of the modules.
5. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 4, wherein the frames are proportioned to correspond to a corresponding side of a module, and each frame comprises second mounting portions complementary to the first mounting portions of the corresponding side.
6. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 4, wherein the distance between adjacent mounting portions of the first module in a horizontal and a vertical plane is equal to the distance between the adjacent first mounting portions of the first module and the second module in a vertical and a horizontal plane when the first and second modules are adjacently disposed with frames mounted on the adjacent sides thereof.
7. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 1, further comprising panels receivable in the frames.
8. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the modules are hollow and open sidewalls are defined in each side of the modules.
9. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 8, further comprising at least one sleeve, each sleeve comprising:
a flange corresponding to a corresponding side of a module and comprising third mounting portions complementary to the first mounting portions of the corresponding side;
a hollow body fixed to the flange and proportioned to be received through the open sidewall of the corresponding side.
10. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 9, wherein the sleeve comprises a drawer slidably received in the hollow body.
11. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 1, wherein horizontal dimensions of the modules, including the cross-sectional dimension of frames installed on each side thereof, are multiples of a base horizontal dimension corresponding to a shortest side of a smallest module.
12. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 11, wherein vertical dimensions of the modules are multiples of a base vertical dimension, and the base vertical dimension equals the base horizontal dimension.
13. A modular furniture system comprising:
a plurality of hollow rectangular parallelepiped modules, each module comprising an upper face including a plurality of protrusions, a lower face including an equal number of complementary recesses corresponding in position to the protrusions, and four sides having open sidewalls, each side provided with at least one first mounting portion, whereby the protrusions of a first module interlock with the recesses of a second module stacked thereon;
a plurality of frames proportioned to correspond to a first corresponding side of a module, each frame comprising at least one second mounting portion complementary to the first mounting portion of the first corresponding side, wherein frames are mountable on the sides of the modules.
14. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the frames are provided with a regular cross-sectional dimension (f), and a distance (a) between adjacent protrusions in a horizontal plane of a module is equal to 2 (b+f), where (b) represents the distance between a peripherally disposed protrusion and a nearest side of the module.
15. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 13, wherein first and second mounting portions are arranged such that a frame may be mounted straddling two adjacently disposed modules with frames mounted on adjacent sides thereof.
16. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the protrusions and recesses are arranged such that a module may be stacked straddling two adjacently disposed modules with frames mounted on adjacent sides thereof.
17. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 13, further comprising at least one sleeve, each sleeve comprising:
a flange comprising third mounting portions complementary to the first mounting portions of a second corresponding side of a module;
a hollow body fixed to the flange and proportioned to be received through the open sidewall of the second corresponding side.
18. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 17, wherein the sleeve comprises a drawer slidably received in the hollow body.
19. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 13, wherein each protrusion is provided with a first locking portion, and each recess is provided with a second locking portion complementary to the first locking portion.
20. A modular furniture system comprising:
a plurality of hollow rectangular parallelepiped modules, each module comprising an upper face including a plurality of upper engaging portions, a lower face including an equal number of complementary lower engaging portions corresponding to the upper engaging portions, and four sides with open sidewalls, each side provided with at least one first mounting portion; and
a plurality of frames, each frame comprising at least one second mounting portion complementary to the first mounting portion of a first corresponding side of a module, the frames provided with a regular cross-sectional dimension (f), wherein frames are mountable on the sides of the modules;
wherein a distance (a) between adjacent engaging portions in a horizontal plane of a module is equal to 2 (b+f), where (b) represents the distance between a peripherally disposed engaging portion and a nearest side of the module, and a distance (c) between adjacent first mounting portions in the same horizontal and vertical plane of a module is equal to 2 (d+f), where (d) represents the distance between a peripherally disposed first mounting portion and the nearest normal side of the module.
21. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 20, further comprising at least one sleeve corresponding to a second corresponding side of the module, the sleeve comprising a flange comprising third mounting portions complementary to the first mounting portions of the second corresponding side, and a hollow body fixed to the flange and proportioned to be received through the open sidewall of the second corresponding side.
22. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 21, wherein the sleeve comprises a drawer slidably received in the hollow body.
23. The modular furniture system as claimed in claim 20, wherein each upper engaging portion is provided with a first locking portion, and each lower engaging portion is provided with a second locking portion complementary to the first locking portion.
US11/318,152 2005-12-23 2005-12-23 Modular furniture system Abandoned US20070145864A1 (en)

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US20150347078A1 (en) * 2014-05-13 2015-12-03 Boe Technology Group Co., Ltd. Assembling frame for display unit and display apparatus
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US10010170B2 (en) * 2014-09-16 2018-07-03 Planex Design Pty Ltd Modular storage system
WO2019145489A1 (en) * 2018-01-26 2019-08-01 Lego A/S A modular furniture construction system
US10539169B2 (en) 2012-07-14 2020-01-21 Kenneth H. KO Connectors used in modular furniture system

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