Autex worked in collaboration 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.
Original vision for the project
Designed in 2010, the Nectar Lampshade was an exploration in materials, natural forms, and traditional craft techniques. I wanted to design a lampshade that could be made from one material, that required no fixings and could be sent flat packed to be assembled by the customer. The outcome is a refined design piece with three variations (more to come) that evokes the honeycomb and beehive.
Preliminary sketches for the lampshade started in 2010, with the launch of the first prototypes at the Salone Satellite in Milan in 2011. In 2012, the Nectar Lampshade received two awards at the Australian International Furniture Fair in Sydney, Best Commercial Product and Best Green Product Award. The feedback on the Nectar lampshade has been fantastic, with solid sales continuing.
The initial vision was to use a natural wool felt for the shade, however the discovery of Vertiface® from Autex's Interior Acoustics range proved to be very exciting because of the recycled nature of the material and the acoustic properties. Using sophisticated CAD modelling, combined with traditional craft knowledge and hands on exploration, the form and unique method of making the lampshade developed.
Advantages of Vertiface
The key advantages of the Autex Vertiface over a traditional felted wool were that it fit with Designtree's ethos of using 'Eco' materials where possible; Autex prioritises high recycled content, reclamation of production off cuts, and locally sourced materials. The natural wool felt did not have the stiffness that was required for the product, whereas Vertiface had a density that allowed a more robust structure to be formed using my unique weaving technique. Vertiface also has many superior qualities such as colour fastness, mould resistance, durability, and good fire resistant ratings. Once the product was put to market, the importance of the acoustic properties became increasingly apparent.
Now that the Nectar Lampshade has been in market for almost 4 years, we have found that customers love the unusual look of the product. The aesthetics speak to a retro influence, yet the material and the honeycomb structure of the lamps stake their ground as a contemporary, cutting edge design.
We have found that many customers, particularly commercial clients, are interested in the acoustic properties of the lampshade. We have seen the Nectar Lampshade specified for atriums, recording studios, hotel rooms, restaurants and cafés in large part due to the high acoustic value.