Autex collaborated with Rebecca Asquith and Tim Wigmore from Designtree® on designs to create acoustic furniture and lighting. The project was hugely successful and we sat down with Rebecca to discuss the process and results and her comments are below:
Original vision for the project
One of our designers at Designtree®
had used the Autex's Vertiface material in a previous product, the Nectar Lampshade, with great success. We wanted to explore using other products in the Autex range so we developed a brief for a scalable modular lighting system utilizing the Cube panel. We wanted to combine a finely crafted timber structure with a contrasting recycled shade, as well as designing the shade to optimise the acoustic absorbency of the Cube Panel.
Designtree® began preliminary sketches for the work in 2012, releasing the first production prototypes for the Pendant at ICFF in New York in 2013. During the development of the design over the previous year, we had also explored ideas for a table and floor lamp using the same materials and similar detailing. The modular nature of the Frankie Pendant system and the material with its high recycled content combined with acoustic properties were 2 of the key things that interested people beyond the aesthetics of the products.
For Designtree®'s shade material we investigated other materials and other PET panel options, as initially Autex did not offer the exact solution we required. However we found Autex to be very accommodating and we were able to work with the company to achieve the exact properties that we desired from the PET panel. We were chuffed to reach this solution as we wanted to work with Autex for 2 key reasons: Firstly one of the key platforms of Designtree® is using ‘Eco’ materials where possible. The Autex material fits this bill in 3 key ways: The high recycled content, Autex’s reclamation of production off cuts to recycle back into their material loop and being a company that manufactures locally.
Secondly the staff at Autex have been fantastic. Being able to get in-depth product information and support, fabrication advice and follow up service has proven to be invaluable and helped greatly with the success of the product development both for earlier designs and in particular for this product.
Now that the Frankie Collection is established in the market and has been utilized in some good sized projects, Designtree® have found that customers are purchasing items from the range for 3 key reasons:
1: The flexibility that Designtree®'s modular lighting system offers has proven to be its primary benefit. A range of cord colours, the possibility to customise the Cube panel lampshade colours, but chiefly the ability to extend a single pendant lamp lengthwise to create a long chain of lamps or indeed many shapes using the Frankie Pendant Extension and corner kits.
2: The unusual look of the product. It is something new and unique looking, in no small part due to the tactile nature of the Cube material. When Designtree® released the Frankie Collection in 2013 as far as we were aware, our products were the only lighting products on the market using the Autex Cube material.
3: From our previous experience with the Nectar Lamp we found that many customers, particularly commercial clients are interested in the acoustic properties of our products. Designtree® have seen this quality of the Frankie Pendant become increasingly sought after and appreciated as more clients develop an appreciation of the importance of the acoustics of various spaces.
Relationship with Autex
Where we can we like to support New Zealand companies that share our values around sustainability and quality. Working with local companies makes things easy for us in many ways, including freight, returning offcuts for recycling and fast and clear communication with our local Autex rep.