Wilkhahn and Woven Image explore what customisation really is.
July 29th, 2015
Customisation is one of those words that get thrown around far too callously. Offer more than two colourways and all of a sudden you can tell people all about your “customisation options”.
Designers find it increasingly difficult to work with brands that have finite options. True customization capabilities are rare and give designers real freedom in being able to tailor their designs down to the most specific request. Few are up to this challenge, and many designers find it difficult to source materials that they can bend to the needs of their products.
Commercial furniture designers, Wilkhahn, recently discovered this challenge themselves when hosting an upholstery design competition for their Chassis multi-purpose conference chair.
One of the biggest problems their designers find in this area is “to find fabric for a particular design or idea,” a Wilkhahn spokes person commented. Textile creatives Woven Image proved the only ones able to resolve this dilemma with their bespoke printing capability. “Woven Image was a definite choice because they can print anything on the upholstery,” Wilkhahn noted.
But aside from finding suppliers with a strong customisation capability – which itself is hard enough – chances are the lead times are going to be outrageously long, right? In the case of the Chassis chair project, the turn around was remarkably quick. Wilkhahn recalls: “We sent Woven Image the high res print artwork and the next thing we knew, we got a fabric with the pattern/print that we wanted!”
When asked to describe their experience with Woven Image’s bespoke offering, Wilkhahn responded that it was “ Very pleasant! It allowed us to take fabric upholstery to another whole new level, mainly because Woven Image can print anything on the upholstery.”
As Wilkhahn explains, “Collaboration is always better than performing solo,” – especially when your partners can achieve just about anything.
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