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 and 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. Parametric modelling has now extended the scope of the Nectar lampshade to be scalable.
The key advantages of the Vertiface material from Autex, over a traditional felted wool were firstly that it fitted with Designtree's ethos of using 'Eco' materials where possible. It fits the bill in three ways; high recycle content, reclamation of production off cuts and locally sourced materials. The natural wool felt did not have quite 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, mold 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 of a retro influence, yet the material, and the honeycomb structure of the lamps stake their ground as very much contemporary cutting edge design.
A change of the Vertiface shade colour within one of the four currently available colours means that customers can use the Nectar Lampshade as a pop of vibrant colour, or utilize the more neutral tones which highlight the structure of the shade, or by choosing the charcoal, customers can create an elegant and more sombre lampshade. With a large colour palette of contemporary colours available in the Vertiface range, the Nectar Lampshade colour range will also increase.
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 the shades add to many 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 off cuts for recycling and fast and clear communication with our local Autex account manager.