Led by Professor Blair Kuys, our team at the Centre for Design Innovation (CDI) designed a luxury pet bed with smart features in collaboration with Timberfy, creating a unique contribution to Australia’s growing pet product sector.  

A 3D front view rendering of the premium outdoor kennel.

Uncovering high-value market opportunities for Timberfy

In 2019 Timberfy engaged us to identify a range of product opportunities within their existing manufacturing capabilities.  

As an Australian manufacturer of high-quality timber furniture, Timberfy were frustrated by the saturation of cheaper south-east Asian imports in the sector and wanted CDI to assist them in finding new market opportunities that would complement their capabilities and experience creating custom furniture products.  

Our team conducted extensive research into Australian consumer market segments for Timberfy. The CDI designers and engineers conceptualised numerous ideas before settling on the most promising one – a timber dog and cat bed range.  

This range would make the most out of Australia’s growing pet products market, and the product requirements matched Timberfy’s existing capabilities, so there was no need to invest in new equipment.   

Furthermore, we saw an opportunity for extra advantage by integrating smart materials and technology into the pet beds for a more considered, luxurious product. 

A look at Timberfy’s new premium dog bed range in context.

The outcome: a premium addition to Australia’s fast-growing pet product sector 

Timberfy’s engagement with CDI and Swinburne University resulted in a product range targeted at high-value products for the pet industry – an industry that is dominated with low-value imported products with limited product options available for high-end consumers. 

The final design, now in production, is an American Oak dog bed with walnut highlights and integrated cushion. It boasts multiple features including: 

  • an internal cavity in the base that allows clean air flow through the cushion 
  • an access hatch in the bed base that allows for disposable charcoal or cedar chip packs to be added to deodorise and repel ticks 
  • a cushioned base covered by a three-part padded plywood hood held in place with leather straps and wooden fasteners 
  • Scandinavian-style adjustable legs (a crucial design element) providing different forms to suit height, stability, manufacturability and aesthetics
  • fabrics suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.  

For Timberfy, this range requires minimal adjustments in set up time, design and construction, enabling them to bring each product to market quickly. It has allowed them to service a new sector of the market and expand revenue streams whilst keeping to machinery and personnel already within the company.  

The final product will be available in three sizes to suit small, medium and large pets. 

Project timeframe 


Research team

  • A 3D side view rendering of Timberfy's premium outdoor kennel.
    A 3D side view rendering of the premium outdoor kennel.
  • Outdoor Timberfy kennel with fabric cover and timber frame
    The outdoor kennel is built with a durable fabric cover and timber frame.
  • Interior view of Timberfy's premium dog kennel
    A look at the interior of the premium dog kennel.

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We always welcome new partners. If you are interested in transforming ideas into commercially competitive outcomes, need the support of our research or have any other queries, contact us on +61 3 9214 6072 or email cdiadmin@swinburne.edu.au.

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