He's just a laid-back ideas man
Self-proclaimed "ideas man" Mardy Daniel has taken couch-riding out of the living-room.
Just over a year ago, the 21-year-old acted on a late-night brainwave and designed a couch with a solar-powered motor, wheels and a stereo system.
"It was just intended as a one-off," he says. "We had a few bits lying around so we just knocked it up."
He bought a couch on eBay for US$20, gutted it, and installed an electric motor. The couch had enough grunt to push "two cars up a slight hill".
"I enjoy creating stuff, whether it's music or machines," says the part-time DJ.
After successfully test-driving the couch at the Rainbow Serpent Festival in western Victoria last year, Mardy decided to set up the world's first motorised couch business.
Festivalcouch.com.au now has five couches available for lease to people wanting to "take their event to new levels".
"After the first festival, we made a page on Facebook and it just took off," he says. "I don't work a day job any more, I just sit on the couch all day."
The couches have evolved to incorporate Mardy's love of music. The Moo-Cowch is a small two-seater that is fitted out with DJ decks, lighting and a sound system. The Un-named Couch fits three comfortably and is amped up with 5000-watts of sound.
Other couches cater for more turbo-minded clients. The Beast Couch, a large three-seater, is fitted with a 125cc motorbike engine and can handle rough terrain with ease.
All of the couches are carbon neutral and drive sideways to make it easier to fit through doorways.
"You want something that's going to be wide enough to fit the wheels... You also want space for speakers."
Mardy says he has always been a builder of things, and lists among his creations a hovercraft when he was aged 16.
"I used a leaf blower motor, and some Whipper Snipper motors I found in hard rubbish," he said. "I used a leaf blower for upward thrust.
"I liked machines, and I was getting into ones with gears and motors ... Then when I was 12 or 13 I started using timber and metal."
Festival Couch has recently branched out to other household items, including old trunks that Mardy fits with speakers.
He has also created a mobile bar that serves organic beer and can be leased for events.
This winter he is hoping to build a couch that will make it safely through the snow fields. "At first people thought I was a bit crazy, but now they understand it more and see the potential."