After years in development, Chattanooga's Smart Furniture recently launched Smart Space, which allows for a new, interactive type of customization and visualization when designing and decorating.
Then, the company teamed with Turnstone to give The Company Lab a $20,000 makeover—just in time for the Gig Tank summerlong accelerator program.
Turnstone is a Steelcase Inc. brand inspired by small businesses. Company leaders create design solutions that are meant to create positive work environments.
SmartFurniture.com is an online furniture retailer and resource with hundreds of millions of options for office and home. It's based in Chattanooga.
Using the Smart Space application, customers can drag and drop items—everything from tables and chairs to props, such as a bottle of Chattanooga Whiskey—into a virtual room.
The app, whose lead developer was Luke Golden with Smart Furniture, allows users to change colors of furniture and see what looks good side by side.
It also allows the user to upload a photo of the room or space they are decorating so that they can see how furniture will look in that specific room.
"Now, for the first time, [you have] the ability to see what things look like in context with each other," T.J. Gentle, CEO of Smart Furniture, said. "It helps to see what thinks look like together, but what really helps is seeing what they look like in your own space.
"You can go to the store and buy stuff, but you couldn't see the options you chose," he said. "Unless they had the exact table you wanted, you had to imagine what a different wood grain would look like."
Tianna Buckwalter with The Company Lab said the makeover was like a dream come true. And it's a bonus that the incubator got to partner with a local company that was once a small startup.
There are couches in The Company's Lab's signature blue that's used in the organization's logo. And there are tables with writing pads that fill up the entire surface for people to make notes as they work.
In honor of last year's Gig Tank winners, Banyan, there are also skateboard racks.
Every day last year, the Banyan team came to The Company Lab on longboards, Buckwalter said.
There are bike racks and tables with built-in lighting and electrical sockets, and it's all designed to be interchangeable and functional.
And both Buckwalter and Gentle said that workspace is important to morale, production and company culture.
"The colors [of the new furniture] are creative, cool, minimal and functional," she said.
Gig Tank Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mike Bradshaw said the space is helping promote creativity.
"There's something profound in it," he said. "There's a special energy due to the configuration of the space."
Smart Furniture and Turnstone leaders will present the public with CO.LAB's new workspace Wednesday at 5 p.m. The public is invited to the event at 55 E. Main St.