In recent years we’ve had the opportunity to do some amazing things when creating our range of designer furniture. While most of our furniture is sold to individual customers, we sometimes get requests for much larger amounts for use in businesses around Australia. Selling larger amounts of commercial furniture can be quite exciting. For instance, last year we sent a shipping container load of Cuba Beds and Side Tables to China. We would have never have thought that was even a remote possibility just a couple of years ago. After all, the idea of sending furniture to China, rather than importing it from China, is a little different to say the least. It’s certainly not the norm at all.
According to Dictionary.com, contract or commercial furniture is ‘furniture designed and manufactured for commercial installation, as in offices, waiting rooms, or lobbies’. It stands to reason that this definition would extend to other businesses as well, such as cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs. Even non-profit entities such as libraries and other public places would fall into this category one would think. It is an area which is quite large, and perhaps a little complex, as you would no doubt agree.
With that in mind, I want to talk a little bit more about the commercial furniture aspect of Beeline Design. Making furniture that is fit for commercial use is not exactly the same as making custom, or bespoke, furniture pieces. Although the same principles can be applied, the design needs to be relatively simple and well thought out. On any well made piece – especially commercial furniture – the processes used should be streamlined and repeatable. Most important of all is that the finished item needs to be robust. At the very least, sturdy enough to stand up to the daily wear and tear that is required of it.
Commercial Furniture – Calypsos Lead The Way
In the past it was our Calypso Stools that have been used, to great effect, in a variety of commercial furniture applications. Restaurants, cafes, diners, pubs and clubs have used our Calypsos and, by all accounts, the businesses speak very highly of them. The Calypsos are simple in design and construction, yet very strong and robust. Being well made and therefore solid, the chances of damage or failure is greatly reduced.
Should an occasion arrise where one of the stools is damaged in some way, the process of repair is also very straightforward. However, in all the years in which we’ve made furniture for commercial applications, we have not received a single stool back for repair.
Enter The Ridge Colection
Beeline Design revealed our new Ridge Collection at Denfair 2018. Like the Calypsos before them, we’re now finding that our Ridge Tables are starting to gain popularity for use in commercial venues. Their simple, yet clean and versatile, lines fit in nicely with a range of applications suited to commercial furniture. Like the Calypso Stools before them, their construction is sturdy enough to withstand the rigours of everyday life in the public arena.
Also, the look and feel of the materials used is both classic, yet modern at the same time. Whether it is a warm, solid timber Tasmanian oak top that is used. Or a stylish, and hard-wearing, stone top, the result is the same. The appreciation, by the end user, of the tactile nature of the constructional elements is very much welcomed.
Just like the Ridge Tables, the new Ridge Stools are constructed in the exact same manner. Therefore, it goes without saying that the Ridge Stools are also very well suited to the commercial environment. The powder coated corrugated steel base is virtually seamless, with no obvious, or visible, fixtures to speak of. There are no screws, bolts, rivets or brackets present. However, the lack of visual fixtures belies the fact that the stools are still very much sturdily built. Rather, the base is secured with a double-locked system developed by Beeline Design. One of the benefits of this is that there is nothing for fabric to catch, or foul, on.
It’s also easy to keep clean, which is an important factor for commercial furniture, we believe.
Living In A Material World
The combination of timber, stone and steel helps us to push our designs further. Working with the different materials also helps in extending the range of products and services that we can offer. Each material has it’s own strengths and challenges. Metal can be cut, shaped, bent, folded and joined without having to worry about grain direction or natural defects. Timber, on the other hand, has warmth and beauty. Each piece is different – sometimes dramatically so – depending on the species used.
Leather is a very organic and fluid material. It stretches, it moves and it flows. It’s very pliable and forgiving, and almost breathes as you work with it. Not only is it a joy to use, we find that it’s perfect for adding accents and a bit of extra flair to a furniture piece. When turned into a major feature, such as a panel for instance, there’s nothing else quite like it. It’s a very different surface to the touch, as well as being visually striking.
Stone is striking for entirely different reasons. Stone commands respect. It always has. After all, it’s been here for a very long time and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. It was probably the very first material that people used for furniture – albeit in a very rough form.
As a civilisation we have had a very long history with all of these materials, and there’s no need to stop using them now. Making commercial furniture that is suited to the conditions it needs to be used in can be challenging at times. However, it’s also very rewarding, and we never shy away from a challenge!
Click here to have a look at some of our other commercial furniture projects, and you might also want to read about our view about being a furniture maker in Melbourne, Australia.