Edgar Oquendo is the Research and Development Manager at EQ3 and works closely with our Product Development team to execute their designs.
What do you do with EQ3?
Aside from leading the R&D team, I develop upholstery prototypes based on the Product Development team’s designs. Once a style is complete I introduce the final design to production, and continue to develop and improve the design overtime based on client feedback.
How did you start working in upholstery?
It’s funny, as a kid, I used to look at everything and ask myself, “how is this built”? I’ve always been interested in architecture and design. After graduating high school, I worked as an entry-level cushion filler for another furniture manufacturer in Winnipeg. Eventually I pursued learning how to upholster, and within a year I was able to move into upholstery. In 2009, I left this company to build custom furniture for my own clients. This included building prototypes for EQ3. Eventually, I officially joined EQ3’s R&D team in February of 2012.
What is an average day like for you?
An average day is mostly spent working on new designs. This includes working with designers, frame technicians, and a lot of patterning. I also troubleshoot any issues in production.
What is the process of bringing a new upholstery collection life?
Product Development presents a design brief, and I meet with them and a frame technician to decide how we will approach the design. A prototype is built, it is finalized after working through a number of iterations, and then presented to get a green light. I then digitize the patterns, and a bill of material is created to specify details for production. A second build process occurs where we review everything to ensure the physical sofa is accurate. We then do a pilot run, and once that’s approved it’s brought to market.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
There are so many aspects of my job that I enjoy. Bringing designs to life. The challenge of the build, and that no day or design is ever the same. That there’s always something new to learn. Building something that becomes part of someone’s life.
How long does it take to prepare a new upholstery collection so it’s ready to sell in stores?
Six to eight months, depending on the style.
How has technology changed your process while in this industry?
Nesting patterns used to be a very manual process. Now all patterns are nested through digital software, so that we get the best yield and use the least amount of material to keep our designs at an accessible price point.
How do you work and communicate with our product designers?
Dialogue and communication with our designers shape the final product. We discuss and challenge each other. We encourage each other, and collaboratively work through issues to make a design work. We all continue to research, become inspired by new innovations, and are able to bring them to the table. We have great working chemistry although the dynamic is unique. We can argue about something and high five each other at the end.