Architecture Meets Dog Room | The Outcome
The Dog Room, an indoor and outdoor living space for man’s best friend is an award winning kennel created by design studio Made by Pen (Pen), in partnership with architect Michael Ong.
After the kennel’s initial production sold out at launch and in response to calls to return the popular kennel to market, instead of a simple re-release, Pen reworked the product to be locally made here in Australia and to enhance its design excellence by revamping its social, economic, and environmental good. Pen forged a unique partnership with social enterprise Help Manufacturing.
Below we take a look at their partnership with HELP and the positive impact the partnership is making on individuals.
HELP is a social enterprise committed to enhancing the lifestyle, independence and ambitions of people with disability. The manufacturing arm of HELP provides meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability so that they can develop new skills and reach their goals, all in a supported work environment.
Workshop Supervisor Trevyn, and supported employees Kenny and Jackson have been working together to relaunch The Dog Room. They each contribute to a different part of the production process to ensure all products are made and assembled to the highest standard.
Trevyn has been working at HELP for over 6 years and plays a vital role in upskilling and developing new team members. He said that though it may take a little more time to train someone with a disability, their dedication and passion is unmatched.
“For many of our team members having a job means much more than just a pay check, it’s about learning, gaining confidence and making important connections. When brands like Made by Pen choose HELP, they’re not just getting a quality product, they’re providing meaningful opportunities for people with disability,” he said.
During their time with HELP Manufacturing Jackson and Kenny have not only learnt a range of practical skills (like welding and driving a forklift), but they’ve also been able to hone their communication and problem-solving skills. Both Jackson and Kenny enjoy working on The Dog Room and get a sense of satisfaction from a day on the tools.
“Seeing the final product is the best part, right before it gets packed up and sent to its new home,”, said Kenny. For Pen the partnership with HELP reflects the core to Pen’s company ethos “the process of how we provide our products must be just as good as our product” says Amy Sellick, Pen Director.
Pen believe value is more than just the tangible costs of the product. The worth of their products must come through from the start of the research and design through to the manufacturing and shipping. The Dog Room uses AA grade responsibly sourced marine ply, a deliberate choice so this kennel is built to last, the studio’s affirmation of Buy Once, Buy Well. Shipping impact costs are offset through their courier partnership with Sendle and Pen have introduced an After-life Returns Policy, where rather than disregard the product they will collect and dispose of it responsibly at its end of life.
Pen’s goal is to make the places we work, live, and play all more functional and beautiful. They hope to deliver meaningful and quality designs out into the world through an equally virtuous manufacturing process.