naco's secret to living

Naco x Swinburne University Accelerator Program: The Future of Design

In an era where efficiency and sustainability are paramount, Naco's recent collaboration with Swinburne University stands as a beacon of innovation and forward-thinking. This partnership, centred around the Swinburne Accelerator Program, is not just a venture into enhancing manufacturing processes; it's a commitment to the circular economy and keeping Australia at the forefront of industrial advancement.

The Collaboration


Naco's engagement with the Swinburne Accelerator team marks a significant step in redefining manufacturing efficiency. The project's core objective is to develop a prototype that embodies the principles of the circular economy – a system aimed at minimising waste and making the most of the local resources available.

Naco's collaboration with Swinburne University, as part of the Swinburne Accelerator Program, is driven by a compelling vision: to empower and improve the work of future designers and create a sustainable, refined way to design in the future.

Through our involvement, we offer these emerging talents a unique space to express and refine their ideas, providing guidance on various aspects of design and collaborating on projects together. However, this initiative is not just about creating a product; it's about nurturing the next generation and the way we think and approach design.

The Swinburne Accelerator Program

The Swinburne Accelerator Program is a dynamic 12-week journey designed to help founders scale their ventures and become investment-ready. It's an incubator for significant ideas, transforming them into impactful global businesses.

 The program offers:

+ A mix of seminars, mentoring, and accountability sessions.

+ Equity-free funding opportunities to scale businesses.

+ Rent-free incubation space at the Swinburne Innovation Hub.

+ Access to a network of entrepreneurs, academics, mentors, and investors.

+ Professional service credits and the chance to pitch to mentors and investors.

This program is a testament to Swinburne's commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within its community.

What is Naco’s Involvement?

In this environment, Naco plays a pivotal role. By collaborating with these bright minds, Naco is not just contributing to the development of a new product; it's actively participating in the shaping of future industry leaders. This partnership reflects Naco's dedication to investing in education and innovation, ensuring that the company and the Australian design landscape continue to thrive.

This collaboration is unique in its approach, involving Swinburne University students directly in the development process. Working on-site at the factory, we allow the students to become more than just observers and actively participate in creating a prototype that could revolutionize the industry.

Insights from our team: Seb & Mond

Sebastian, a key figure in this project, notes the importance of this collaboration in keeping manufacturing local. Mond is always looking for innovative ways to design that are creating a circular economy, without having to compensate on the aesthetics. 

“Amidst challenges like rising timber prices and global competition, this project aims to streamline production processes, ensuring that Australian manufacturing remains competitive and sustainable.” - The Naco Team

Showcasing Talent and Innovation

The project has been actively documented and shared on various social media platforms, highlighting the contributions of the students involved. Platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram have been instrumental in showcasing the progress and the people behind this innovative venture.

Our collaboration has given a platform to emerging talents like Ravi Newman Pache, Alexander Saribalas, Tony Vu, and Leo Pryor, whose profiles can be found on LinkedIn and Instagram. 

Stay In The Loop:

» GradX Announcement on LinkedIn

» NacoStudio on Instagram

» Swinburne Design on Instagram

Their involvement exemplifies the blend of academic knowledge and practical application, a cornerstone of this collaboration.

The Impact: transforming manufacturing for efficiency and sustainability

The narrative we're presenting goes beyond the technicalities of manufacturing. It's about the positive impact on production processes, the value of collaborating with new talent, and the commitment to keeping craftsmanship alive in Melbourne.

Working with RATL studio (Ravi, Alexander, Tony and Pryor), we are proud to say we have made significant progress in the way some of our products (The Orimba Chest of Drawers in particular) are going to be designed and produced in the future. By integrating handmade craftsmanship with machine automation, this partnership aims to streamline the furniture-making process. This innovative approach is expected to:

Reduce Production Time

By automating some of the initial steps in the furniture-making process, the collaboration seeks to significantly cut down production time, enabling faster delivery of high-quality products.

Maintain Local Production

In an era where outsourcing overseas is often seen as a cost-saving measure, this project stands out for its commitment to keeping manufacturing local. This not only supports the Australian economy but also ensures a higher level of quality control and quicker response to market demands.

Offer Accessible Prices

Despite the challenges posed by rising timber prices, the collaboration aims to keep products affordable. This is crucial in ensuring that quality furniture remains accessible to a broad range of consumers.

Enhanced Sustainability

Integration of CNC manufacturing and enhanced sustainability means we are one step closer to creating furniture with lower carbon footprint

Summarised Report: RATL Studio's Innovative Approach to Modernising NACO's Orimba Chest of Drawers

Through the 3 months of this collaboration, RATL Studio embarked on a mission to revolutionise the production of Naco's Orimba chest of drawers, focusing on integrating CNC manufacturing and enhancing sustainability. 

Their journey began with an insightful exploration of Naco's showroom, where our team had the pleasure to talk about design and our role in the field, as well as gather inspiration. 

The team's efforts were centred on streamlining the manufacturing process, reducing complexity, and ensuring the design aligned with Naco's beloved aesthetic. Through collaborative brainstorming and research, RATL Studio delved into the intricacies of the Orimba unit, leveraging CAD remodelling to explore sustainable joinery methods as alternatives to brad nails.

Their redesigned bedside unit prototype not only demonstrated the great application of CNC, but also opened avenues for further exploration in joinery and hardwood edge detailing that could be applied to other products in our range (and in other Australian manufacturers’ products).

The project culminated in a CAD model that seamlessly transitioned between different configurations for efficient CNC processing, reflecting RATL Studio's commitment to precision and adaptability.

The experience was more than just an academic exercise; it was a journey of discovery and collaboration. 

"The experience of collaborating with both Sebastian and Mond was a pleasure, and it’s something we will all hold dear as we continue to progress in our studies and careers." 

This powerful sentiment encapsulates the essence of the project – a fusion of innovation, learning, and meaningful connections that will resonate with the students as they advance in their professional journeys.

For Consumers

This project promises to refine the furniture-making process, reducing production time while maintaining local production. This approach is crucial, especially in a market facing rising timber prices, as it helps keep products accessible. The collaboration also hosts the celebration of Melbourne’s culture of innovation and design, and our value of ‘Kai-Zen’ - meaning we are always striving to do better, be better and improve.

For Designers

Our team at Naco truly enjoyed this collaboration with new talent, which allows students to apply their theoretical knowledge in a practical setting, bridging the gap between education and industry. Naco's initiative is a testament to its investment in education and innovation. Collaborating with new talent allows for a fresh perspective in design, ensuring that the company stays at the cutting edge of the industry and that, above all else, the future generation of designers gets an invaluable experience that they can apply to their projects. 

Get Involved

Join us for the 2023 SoDA Graduate Exhibition - GradX Flux, showcasing the best of Swinburne's School of Design + Architecture talent. We will be there celebrating everyone, and cheering on our beloved RATL studio for their incredible work, patience and contribution to the world of design. Let’s all meet where graduates, alumni, and leaders in industry come together to network and celebrate emerging designers - so everyone that loves design should come along regardless of their occupation!

Where is the GradX Flux taking place? 

Advanced Manufacturing & Design Centre (AMDC building), Swinburne University of Technology

Burwood Road Hawthorn, VIC 3122 Australia

GradX Flux is more than a design exhibition; it's a testament to the power of collaboration between industry and academia. It's where the ideas nurtured in the Swinburne Accelerator Program and through collaborations like that of Naco and other startups that help shape the future generations of designers. By attending, you're not just witnessing a display of talent; you're supporting the future of design and innovation in Australia.

To Conclude...

Naco is proud of collaborating with the talented young designers from RATL studio and our ongoing collaboration with Swinburne University - for us, this is more than just a project; it's a vision for the future of manufacturing in Australia. By embracing the principles of the circular economy and investing in the next generation of our talented designers, we are not merely adapting to the changing landscape of the industry – we're remoulding it into something new and exciting.

Good Things Dont Have To Come From Afar